Entries in Secret Service (25)


Harry Reid: Secret Service Scandal Suggests ‘Stupidity’ 

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Asked in the wake of the Secret Service scandal if Congress should be more involved in reforming the culture of the U.S. Secret Service, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., declared Thursday that lawmakers just cannot legislate against stupidity.

“There’ll be committees of jurisdiction that will hold hearings on this. But all -- understand this: There’s not a committee hearing that’s going to take the place or stop people from being stupid. There is not a bill we can pass to cause people to have common sense,” said Reid.

He added there will be various investigations and committee hearings going forward on this in due time, as they should.

“I mean, think about this: People that are here to protect the president -- they go to Colombia and have a fight with a prostitute over how much she should be paid,” he continued, “And that’s a little -- that’s either very stupid or total lack of common sense.”

All that said, Reid says he has “great confidence” in the Secret Service.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gingrich Urged to End Secret Service Detail at Taxpayer Expense

AFP/Getty Images(ALEXANDRIA, Va.) -- A tax activist group has urged Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich to suspend his Secret Service protection to save taxpayer dollars.

“For a guy who for all intents and purpose, and isn’t doing a lot of campaigning, needs to suspend his Secret Service detail,” said David Williams, president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance in Alexandria, Va. “He needs to do what’s right for the taxpayer and say, ‘I’m done with Secret Service protection.'”

Gingrich, who has had Secret Service for about a month, has vowed to stay in the race until presumptive nominee Mitt Romney reaches the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the nomination. Gingrich has the “Camp David” package of Secret Service, which includes but is not limited to six cars, six federal agents, four state troopers at a campaign stop, four local agents when the candidate arrives and a press agent if there is a press bus, a person with knowledge of the Gingrich campaign said.

Although the cost to keep the Secret Service detail on the Gingrich campaign couldn’t be determined, it includes agents’ meals, hotel stays, transportation and salary. The person with knowledge of the Secret Service and the campaign said Gingrich’s protection might be helping him stay in race because the cost is borne by taxpayers.

The campaign has no intention of changing course, however. “Where does he not qualify for Secret Service? Has Mitt Romney secured the nomination?” Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond asked.

Hammond said the Secret Service spends the same amount of money to cover Romney. “As a government, we provide protection to our candidates, visiting dignitaries, presidential families,” Hammond said. “There are a lot of people who would like to see him not in the race. There’s an entire class of pundits who make a living offering up their opinion, but pundits don’t pick the president, people do.”

The costs associated with several components of a campaign are covered when it is under the veil of Secret Service protection.

With Secret Service, the campaign doesn’t have to pay for vehicle transportation, which includes gas, drivers and staff. Before receiving Secret Service, the campaign had to rent cars, pay for gas and also keep staff members on the road to drive the vehicles.

With Secret Service, the campaign also does not have to pay for private security for Gingrich. Private security alone can total $50,000 a month. Even after receiving Secret Service, the campaign did keep private security for Gingrich’s wife, Callista, who is not covered by the Secret Service detail for the candidate.

Another big cost saver for campaigns with Secret Service is that the campaign doesn’t have to pay advance staff to travel ahead of the group and secure the site to ensure it is acceptable for Gingrich’s arrival. There are usually two Secret Service agents who are at the site before the candidate’s arrival. Even after receiving Secret Service, the campaign did pay a private advance staff to prepare the sites. The advance staff was cut when Gingrich released one-third of his staff to save money.

Gingrich has seen his share of “Occupy Wall Street” protestors while campaigning, one of whom leaped toward him and was tackled by Gingrich’s private security team in Iowa. And a student stood up and shouted at Gingrich as he spoke in North Carolina last week. There have been other incidents, several sources said, although Hammond said the campaign does not comment on security matters.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Secret Service Agents Brought Prostitutes in 'Contact with Sensitive Info'

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The partying U.S. Secret Service agents and officers who allegedly brought prostitutes into their Cartagena, Colombia, hotel rooms brought the call girls “into contact with sensitive security information,” the Chair and ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform wrote to Mark J. Sullivan, the director of the U.S. Secret Service on Wednesday.

Sources tell ABC News that this was a reference to Sullivan, in a Monday meeting with congressional investigators, expressing concern that there was sensitive information in one or more of the rooms at the Hotel Caribe.

The charge is contained in a letter from Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Elijah Cummings, D-Md., who wrote to Sullivan on Wednesday that the “nation’s capacity to protect the President, the Vice President, and visiting foreign leaders, among others, is dependent on the character and judgment of the agents and officers of the U.S. Secret Service.  The actions of at least 11 agents and officers in Colombia last week showed an alarming lack of both.”


“The facts as you described them raised questions about the agency’s culture,” the two congressmen write.  “The incident in Cartagena is troubling because Secret Service agents and officers made a range of bad decisions, from drinking too much, to engaging with prostitutes, to bringing foreign nationals into contact with sensitive security information, to exposing themselves to blackmail and other forms of potential compromise.”

In addition, the committee leaders asked for detailed information about the incident, including a “description of the Secret Service’s current understanding of possible agent misconduct that occurred on the evening of Wednesday, April 11 and the morning of Thursday, April 12″; a “complete description and account of all U.S. Government personnel who were involved in or had contemporaneous knowledge of misconduct by agents and officers”; a timeline; summaries of all disciplinary actions since 2002 that have been taken against the 11 agents and officers involved in the Colombian incident; and a determination as to whether “all women involved in this incident were at least 18 years of age.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Secret Service Investigates Ted Nugent Remarks on Obama

Randy Snyder/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Secret Service is looking into the incendiary and potentially threatening remarks made by rocker and Mitt Romney-backer Ted Nugent at the National Rifle Association convention over the weekend.

“We are aware of them and we are conducting the appropriate follow-up now,” Secret Service spokesman George Ogilvie told ABC News.

Nugent told a crowd of convention-goers that “if Barack Obama becomes the president in November, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”

“If you can’t go home and get everybody in your lives to clean house in this vile, evil, America-hating administration, I don’t even know what you’re made of,” he said. The comments were caught on tape and posted online by the website Right Wing Watch.

The Democratic National Committee and Obama campaign have launched a multimedia offensive against Romney over Nugent, demanding that the presumptive GOP nominee disavow the statements of his high-profile supporter.

But the White House Tuesday refused to join in the condemnation and said that it won’t be “policing the statements of supporters across the board.”

“The president is focused on the issues,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney, when asked by ABC News about Nugent’s remarks.

“I think a lot of this other stuff is noise.  And I think most Americans are pretty sophisticated consumers of the news, especially as we get closer to the elections, and pretty sophisticated evaluators of the men and women who put themselves forward to be president,” he said.

When asked whether the president supports demands from DNC officials, Carney deflected the question.

“I haven’t seen the comments that you’re referring to by others. The president’s focused on doing his job.  He has made the point that, you know -- you know, we can’t as a general rule police the statements of every supporter.  I think best to just abide by the kind of standards of behavior and rhetoric yourself,” he said.

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul on Tuesday offered the first public comment on the Nugent controversy, saying that “everyone needs to be civil.”

“Divisive language is offensive no matter what side of the political aisle it comes from,” Saul said in a statement.

Nugent endorsed Romney on Twitter in March after apparently having a “long heart and soul conversation” with the former governor and has been an outspoken advocate for his election to the presidency.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Argument About the Bill Alerted Hotel Authorities to Secret Service and Prostitutes Cavorting, WH Official Says

George Doyle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A senior administration official briefed on the accusations against the Secret Service agents pulled from duty in Colombia tells ABC News that a heated argument between at least one of the alleged prostitutes and at least one of the Secret Service agents first alerted authorities of the Hotel Caribe in Cartagena to the cavorting between Secret Service agents and prostitutes.

The argument was a dispute over the bill for services rendered, the administration official said.

Hotel Caribe authorities went to investigate the ruckus and learned that there had been some activity between Secret Service agents and prostitutes, the senior administration official said.

Hotel authorities then went down to the reception desk to see who else of the American guests may have signed in female guests — call girls — for the evening.

Initially, this official said, that inspection led the hotel authorities to have questions about 22 Americans — 17 Secret Service agents and five special operations soldiers who were there to assist the Secret Service. Their names were reported to the lead U.S. military official on the ground.

That is not to say that all 22 men had hired prostitutes, the administration official underlined. Some of those about whom the hotel raised questions may merely have been attending a party and violating curfew. Eleven Secret Service agents have been sent back to the United States. The five U.S. Special Forces members remain in Colombia, per the request of the Secret Service.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rick Santorum to Receive Protection from Secret Service

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Rick Santorum will begin receiving Secret Service protection on Tuesday, just as Michigan and Arizona voters head to the polls.

The former Pennsylvania senator will be the second Republican presidential candidate to receive the heightened security detail; Mitt Romney made the request in late January and began receiving protection earlier this month.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rick Santorum Campaign Formally Requests Secret Service Protection

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(FARGO, N.D.) -- The Santorum campaign has formally requested Secret Service protection, a campaign aide confirmed to ABC News.

A campaign lawyer sent the Department of Homeland Security a letter Wednesday, but the aide told ABC News the candidate was not immediately informed.

That explains why, on Wednesday evening when Santorum appeared on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, he said the campaign had not reached out.

“I think the person, who when I was asked that question, misunderstood what I was saying,” Santorum said, referring to a question from ABC News on the topic Tuesday in Idaho. “I said that we are having discussions within the campaign about whether to do that. But no, we don’t have any Secret Service protection and this is just something because of some events that have happened, you know, we are just having the discussion internally about whether this is something we want to do or not.”

The aide stressed Santorum was not lying and the plan was to brief the candidate after his campaign event in Fargo, N.D. There were more than 1,500 people crammed into a hotel ballroom and Santorum got a very enthusiastic reception while he pitched himself to voters who caucus on Super Tuesday.

Tuesday night in Boise, Idaho, Santorum said, “For the sake of my family…we have to consider [Secret Service protection], so we are in that discussion right now.”

The aide added that Santorum is resisting getting Secret Service protection and would prefer not to have it.

Protocol for a candidate to receive protection is that the campaign must first make a formal request with the Department of Homeland Security -- unless there is a specific threat -- then the request goes to Senate leadership and the Senate Sergeant at Arms, who reviews the request and makes a decision whether to offer the protection or not.

Mitt Romney received Secret Service protection two weeks ago. Santorum currently employs private security.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Santorum in Discussions to Receive Secret Service Protection

Steve Pope/Getty Images(BOISE, Idaho) -- Rick Santorum said Tuesday evening “for the sake” of his family he is in talks to possibly acquire Secret Service protection.

“We are talking about that right now,” Santorum told reporters in Boise, Idaho, before referring to events that transpired the night before.  “It’s unfortunate that we are in that situation where folks can get a little rowdy and sometimes a little violent and so it’s sort of a sad state of affairs.  I’ve been driving around most of this campaign in a truck with one other person, but we are in a different phase and obviously just for the sake of my family that we have to consider so we are in that discussion right now.”

On Monday night, a rally in Tacoma, Wash., got rowdy when about a dozen Occupy Tacoma protesters tried to shout over the candidate.  The protesters got into a scuffle with Santorum supporters and Tacoma Police dragged out and cuffed two of the Occupiers, but left the rest of the group there alone as they continued to try and shout over Santorum.

After the event, another protester was arrested after she directly glitter bombed Santorum -- an act typically motivated by the targets’ opposition to same-sex marriage.  It was at least the sixth time Santorum has been doused with glitter at an event, but Monday evening was probably the most direct hit.

Protocol for a candidate to receive Secret Service protection is that the campaign must first make a formal request with the Department of Homeland Security -- unless there is a specific threat -- then the request goes to Senate leadership and the Senate Sergeant at Arms, who reviews the request and makes a decision whether to offer the protection or not.

Mitt Romney received Secret Service protection two weeks ago.  Santorum currently employs private security.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mitt Romney to Receive Secret Service Protection

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(TAMPA, Fla.) -- Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has been informed that it will start receiving Secret Service protection this week, two campaign sources and a senior Republican tell ABC News.

Romney's campaign initially denied it had requested Secret Service protection, but federal officials tell ABC News that Romney's campaign did, in fact, make the request. Romney's campaign has not confirmed the latest report.

Secret Service protection is being given to the campaign not because of a specific threat but because of the increase in crowd sizes as the primary season has progressed over the past few weeks, according to the sources, who refused to be identified because they don’t have authority to comment on such matters publicly.

The Secret Service is charged with protecting presidential candidates in addition to the president himself, and providing protection to a candidate before he secures a nomination has become fairly common. Such decisions are made by the Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with congressional leadership.

The Romney campaign, which has long traveled with private security of its own, did not request Service protection, and was approached about the additional security steps in the weeks following the New Hampshire primary, the sources told ABC News.

Officials with the campaign and the Secret Service declined to comment on the decision.

Romney will become the only current Republican candidate with Secret Service protection. Herman Cain became the first candidate to receive Service protection, in November, but he ended his candidacy in December.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bullet-Ridden Obama Shirt Sparks Investigation

Handout Photo(PHOENIX, Ariz.) -- Seven Arizona teenagers used an Obama T-shirt for target practice and posted a picture on Facebook, causing the Secret Service to investigate.

The photo shows the teenagers in the desert holding guns and a bullet-riddled Obama T-shirt. The Secret Service told ABC’s Phoenix affiliate that the teenagers had a right to free speech, but they also had a right to question their behavior.

The Peoria, Ariz., Police Department is also looking into the matter, since one of their own snapped it.

“I don’t think that the shooting of that T-shirt is that big of a deal,” Sgt. Pat Shearer, who took the photo, told ABC 15.

Jay Davies, a spokesman for the Peoria Police Department, told ABC News that his office had become aware of the photo Thursday afternoon after receiving a call from the Secret Service.

“We are doing an administrative review,” he said, but declined to discuss the details of the case.

Davies said Shearer was a 25-veteran of the department.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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