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Entries in Prostitutes (9)

Wednesday
May232012

Secret Service Director Apologizes for Prostitution Scandal

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The director of the Secret Service on Wednesday apologized for the distraction caused by last month's sex scandal in Colombia, testifying to Congress that the agency is taking steps to prevent future embarrassing encounters from happening.

Director Mark Sullivan tried to assure a Senate committee that Secret Service agents make appropriate decisions the "overwhelming majority" of the time, but "we had some individuals who made very bad decisions" on the trip to Cartagena before President Obama's arrival.

Sullivan said he is reviewing the Secret Service's ethics policy and training as a result of the investigation into the agents who brought prostitutes back to their hotel after a night of partying.

"Any type of misconduct we take extremely seriously," Sullivan said.

Sullivan had not spoken publicly about the scandal until Wednesday morning.  He appeared nervous at times, once calling Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine "secretary" before correcting himself.

The night before, the Washington Post reported that four Secret Service employees who lost their jobs in the fallout from the scandal are challenging their dismissal.  The agents reportedly say they were made into scapegoats even though the Secret Service has tolerated similar behavior.

The sex scandal and subsequent investigation were an embarrassment for the agency and resulted in a handful of agents losing their jobs, and a dozen military members being accused of hiring prostitutes as well.

"Between the alcohol and, I don't know, the environment, these individuals did some really dumb things," Sullivan told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Republicans have tried to tie the flap to the Obama administration, arguing that the president is responsible for overseeing all federal agencies.  The White House has said that none of its employees were involved in the scandal in the days before Obama arrived in Cartagena.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr262012

Report: Secret Service Agents Partied with Strippers, Hookers in El Salvador

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A group of Secret Service agents allegedly visited a strip club and paid for sexual favors during an advance trip to El Salvador just days before President Obama's official visit there in March 2011, an unnamed source told CBS Seattle affiliate KIRO-TV.

The Secret Service acknowledged Thursday it is investigating the claim, which comes days after the agency fired eight agents for their meetings with prostitutes in Colombia ahead of a presidential visit. "The recent investigation in Cartagena has generated several news stories that contain allegations by mostly unnamed sources," Secret Service spokesman Max Milien told ABC News. "Any information that is brought to our attention that can be assessed as credible will be followed up on in an appropriate manner."

According to the report, a U.S. government subcontractor who "worked extensively with the Secret Service advance team" saw a majority of the group of about a dozen Secret Service agents and a few U.S. military specialists who were on the trip get "wasted" at the strip club in San Salvador before paying to enter a VIP area and receive sexual favors.

At least two of the agents brought escorts, who may or may not have been strip club employees, into their hotel rooms during the trip, according to the report. The source claims he attempted to dissuade the agents, but that they boasted that they "did this all the time" and "not to worry about it." The new report adds to the allegations of misconduct against Secret Service agents, after a scandal erupted around Secret Service agents' meetings with prostitutes during a trip earlier this month to Cartagena, Colombia ahead of President Obama's arrival there for an international summit.

This week, the Secret Service announced that it had dealt with all 12 agents and supervisors implicated in the Cartagena scandal, with eight losing their jobs over their involvement in the ordeal.

During a trip to Brazil Tuesday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta apologized for an incident in 2011 when three Marine guards allegedly fought with a prostitute in a car and then allegedly tossed her out of their moving car, injuring her. Two Marines were demoted and a U.S. embassy employee was removed from his post in connection with the incident. A State Department spokeswoman denied the woman was thrown from the car, and said she was injured when she tried to get back into the car.

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that if the Cartagena scandal had been part of a pattern, "that would be a surprise to me."

The new allegations were reported Thursday by KIRO's Chris Halsne, who recently returned from a trip to El Salvador, where he interviewed the source. Halsne said he initially heard the allegations from the same source last year while he was covering a separate story in El Salvador. Halsne said he planned to name the names of the agents allegedly involved.

He also interviewed the owner of the strip club, who claimed that Secret Service agents were at his club on at least three consecutive nights, and that his club has hosted U.S. Embassy employees, DEA agents and FBI agents when they are in town. The club owner denied, however, that he allows prostitution in his establishment. Prostitution is legal in El Salvador and Colombia.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr232012

Calls for More Women in Secret Service Amid Prostitution Scandal

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Washington has begun asking if the Secret Service needs more women in the organization in the wake of the prostitution scandal in Cartagena, Colombia, that has led to six agents being fired or resigning.

The call comes after it became public on Saturday that a woman named Paula Reid, who heads the Miami field office for the Secret Service, which also overseas South America, was the supervisor who moved quickly to contain last week’s incident.

Eleven agents were pulled from their assignments as part of the advance staff preparing for President Obama’s trip to Cartagena after allegations emerged that one of the agents had a dispute over payment with a prostitute.

“I can’t help but wonder if there’d been more women as part of that detail if this ever would have happened,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) during an appearance on ABC News’ This Week on Sunday.

While Reid wasn’t in charge of Obama’s security detail, she was the agent who notified Washington about the incident.  Sources say it was ultimately the decision of Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan to pull the men out of Colombia.

“I can’t help but keep asking this question, ‘Where are the women?’” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) on This Week.  “We probably need to diversify the Secret Service and have more minorities and more women.”

Secret Service officials insist that there are plenty of women in key roles.  Currently, there are at least two deputy assistant directors -- the head of the legal department, and the head of the Paris field office -- who are women.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr202012

Secret Service Agents in Colombian Sex Scandal Identified

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Two Secret Service supervisors being pushed out of the agency amid a sex scandal surrounding a presidential trip to Colombia have been identified by U.S. media outlets.

David Randall Chaney, 48, a supervisor in the Secret Service's international programs division, was the agent pushed to retire Wednesday, The Washington Post reported.

The other agent identified, initially by The Washington Post and CBS News, was Greg Stokes, an assistant special agent in charge of the K-9 division who has been notified that the agency wants to discharge him, though he may fight the effort.

A third Secret Service worker, a lower-level official who has not been publicly identified, is resigning.

Lawrence Berger, the general counsel for the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, told ABC News he is representing Chaney and Stokes but would not confirm their involvement in the Colombia events.

Berger believes someone in the Secret Service, but not the organization itself, has access to sensitive information and is violating privacy statutes by releasing the agents' names.

He added that the men involved in the controversy are getting a raw deal because they are being tried by the media and court of public opinion.

News crews gathered Thursday night at Chaney's home in Ashburn, Va., where a police officer said the family would not speak and said people who stepped on the property would be charged with trespassing.

The identities of the two agents surfaced after ABC News learned that some of the prostitutes who allegedly met with Secret Service agents in Colombia have been interviewed by investigators, but U.S. officials are still searching for others.

The investigation is going full tilt, with the eight remaining Secret Service officials facing lie detector tests.  More resignations are expected in the coming days as the probe goes forward, according to congressional leaders.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr192012

Secret Service Pre-Planned Party at Colombian Hotel

Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images(CARTAGENA, Colombia) -- Secret Service officials planning a wild night of fun in Colombia did some of their own advanced work last week, booking a party space at the Hotel Caribe before heading out to the night clubs, hotel sources tell ABC News.

As first reported by ABC News, the men went to the Pley Club brothel, where they drank expensive whiskey and bragged that they worked for President Obama.  The men were also serviced by prostitutes at the club.

But the night didn’t end there.  The men brought women from the Pley Club back to the hotel and also picked up additional escorts from other clubs and venues around town, sources tell ABC News.

Eleven officials were involved and, according to Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who was briefed on the misconduct by Secret Service, “twenty or twenty-one women foreign nationals were brought to the hotel.”

ABC News has learned that, when booking the party space, the men told hotel staff that they anticipated roughly 30 people.

The following morning, there was reportedly a dispute between one of the women and an official over the amount of money she was owed for spending the night.  A quarrel ensued and the authorities were ultimately called.

The officials’ misconduct in Cartagena last week, ahead of the president’s visit for the Summit of the Americas, has already forced three agents out of their positions.

The Secret Service announced Wednesday that one supervisor was allowed to retire while another was “proposed for removal for cause.”  A third, non-supervisory employee resigned.  The remaining eight Secret Service personnel allegedly involved remain on administrative leave.

The Secret Service has also widened their investigation of the officials to include possible drug use during their partying in Cartagena, ABC News confirmed.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr182012

Secret Service Agents Forced Out Amid Prostitution Investigation

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Three Secret Service agents have been forced out of their positions amid a scandal involving the alleged hiring of prostitutes and other questionable behavior during a presidential visit to Colombia.

"Although the Secret Service's investigation into allegations of misconduct by its employees in Cartagena, Colombia, is in its early stages, and is still ongoing, three of the individuals involved will separate or are in the process of separating from the agency," said Paul S. Morrissey, the assistant director of the U.S. Secret Service Office of Government and Public Affairs, in a written statement.

In addition, some Secret Service personnel are now under investigation for possible drug use.

ABC News has learned that Secret Service investigators are probing reports from a Cartagena, Colombia, hotel worker, who said he saw a line of white powder, which he believed to be cocaine, on a table in a Secret Service agent's room. The hotel worker told the New York Post he responded to clean up the room after there was a dispute between a Secret Service agent and a prostitute over payment.

"When I went upstairs I walked into a messy room. The room was littered with two whiskey bottles -- and a line of white powder, I believed to be cocaine, was on top of a round glass table in the room," the staffer told the Post.

According to Rep. Peter King of New York, who was briefed by the Secret Service, the agency is taking the hotel worker's allegations seriously.

"This is one of the things the Secret Service is investigating," King told ABC. "Agents are randomly tested for drugs. I know the director will take further action if more information on this becomes available."

The Secret Service declined to comment on the records, but sources familiar with the investigation say inspectors in Colombia have yet to be told that information directly. However, sources said the agency will follow up anyway and question agents who travelled to Colombia about possible drug use.

According the New York Post story, the hotel worker described a chaotic, morning-after scene in the hotel lobby, with the prostitute screaming in the lobby that she had not been paid.

The worker said, "The agent was supposed to pay her a [bar] fine on top of the pay rate for her sexual services, but he didn't."

The worker explained that visitors to area strip clubs are expected to pay a fee to the club, and then pay the woman directly for any sexual services.

As part of the prostitution probe, agents have agreed to polygraph tests. It wasn't clear whether drug questions would be included.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr182012

Secret Service Now Being Investigated for Drug Use

US Government(NEW YORK) -- Secret Service agents who were allegedly hiring prostitutes while on a presidential visit to Colombia are now under investigation for possible drug use.

ABC News has learned that Secret Service investigators are probing reports from a Cartagena, Colombia, hotel worker who said he saw a line of white powder, which he believed to be cocaine, on a table in a Secret Service agent's room. The hotel worker told the New York Post he responded to clean up the room after there was a dispute between a Secret Service agent and a prostitute over payment.

"When I went upstairs I walked into a messy room. The room was littered with two whiskey bottles -- and a line of white powder, I believed to be cocaine, was on top of a round glass table in the room," the staffer told the Post.

According to Rep. Peter King of New York, who was briefed by the Secret Service, the agency is taking the hotel worker's allegations seriously.

"This is one of the things the Secret Service is investigating," King told ABC. "Agents are randomly tested for drugs. I know the director will take further action if more information on this becomes available."

The Secret Service declined to comment on the records, but sources familiar with the investigation say inspectors in Colombia have yet to be told that information directly. However, sources said the agency will follow up anyway and question agents who travelled to Colombia about possible drug use.

According the New York Post story, the hotel worker described a chaotic, morning-after scene in the hotel lobby, with the prostitute screaming in the lobby that she had not been paid.

The worker said, "The agent was supposed to pay her a [bar] fine on top of the pay rate for her sexual services, but he didn't."

The worker explained that visitors to area strip clubs are expected to pay a fee to the club, and then pay the woman directly for any sexual services.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr182012

Secret Service Scandal: Agents Will Take Lie Detector Tests

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The 11 Secret Service agents accused of soliciting prostitutes and drinking excessively while on assignment in Colombia will be forced to take lie detector tests to determine exactly what happened, ABC News has learned.

The alleged misconduct in Cartagena, Colombia, came before President Obama arrived there last Friday to attend the Summit of the Americas.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said in a statement Tuesday that the scandal involved “twenty or twenty-one women foreign nationals," about nine of whom were allegedly involved with Marines.  Collins’ knowledge of the incident came from a briefing she had with Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan.

Sources tell ABC News that many of the suspected prostitutes have been identified and will be interviewed.

Investigators will also be on the ground in Cartagena Wednesday morning, canvassing night clubs, interviewing hotel employees and collecting hotel surveillance video.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr172012

Obama Retains Confidence in USSS Director Sullivan

U.S. Government(WASHINGTON) -- As the Secret Service scandal grows, President Obama still has confidence in Director Mark Sullivan, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday.

“The president has confidence in the director of the Secret Service. Director Sullivan acted quickly in response to this incident and is overseeing an investigation as we speak into the matter,” Carney said.

“The Secret Service performs admirably in its number one mission, which is to protect the president of the United States, to protect the family of the president, to protect those who travel with him or her,” he continued. “And the president, as he said in Cartagena, feels very strongly that the work the Secret Service does, the men and women who protect him and his family and those of us who work with him, is exemplary as a rule.”

Obama is receiving regular updates on investigators’ progress, Carney said, but is “not being updated on the process itself or day-by-day information gleaned.”

The prostitution scandal in Cartagena, Columbia involved about 11 U.S. Secret Service employees when “twenty or twenty-one women foreign nationals were brought to the hotel,” about nine of whom were allegedly involved with Marines, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said in a written statement Tuesday.

Collins’ knowledge of the incident comes from a 30-minute briefing she said she received Monday night from Sullivan about the accusations of misconduct in Cartagena, before President Obama arrived there Friday to attend a conference.

“Director Sullivan is rightly appalled by the agents’ actions and is pursuing a vigorous internal investigation,” Collins said.  “He ordered all the agents to return to Washington immediately, and all have been interviewed.”

Collins is the ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Department of Homeland Security and is the Senate’s chief oversight committee. She said she raised the following questions at the briefing:

"1. Who were these women?  Could they have been members of groups hostile to the United States?  Could they have planted bugs, disabled weapons, or in any others jeopardized security of the president or our country?

“2. Is there any evidence of previous misconduct by these or any other agents on other missions?

“3. Given the number of agents involve, does this indicate a problem with the culture of the Secret Service?”


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio