*UPDATE: An American official who is not authorized to speak about the incident tells ABC News the officers were not agents tasked with guarding President Obama.
The incident may have only involved one or two individuals, the American official said. It’s likely an entire unit was pulled while an investigation is underway. The officers were sent home and a new unit was brought in to replace them.
While prostitution is legal in certain parts of Colombia the Secret Service said it takes allegations of any soliciting seriously.
The alleged misconduct happened before President Obama arrived in Colombia on Friday afternoon for the Summit of the Americas. Secret Service said that the security surrounding the president was never compromised.
(CARTAGENA, Colombia) — U.S. Secret Service officials were sent home from President Obama’s trip to Colombia because of allegations of misconduct, apparently involving prostitution.
While the Secret Service would not confirm the number of personnel involved, the allegations make this an acutely embarrassing incident for the elite security tasked with protecting the president.
“There have been allegations of misconduct made against Secret Service personnel in Cartagena, Colombia, prior to the president’s trip,” spokesman Ed Donovan, a special agent, told ABC News this evening. “Because of this, those personnel are being relieved of their assignments, returned to their place of duty, and are being replaced by other Secret Service personnel.
“The Secret Service takes all allegations of misconduct seriously. This entire matter has been turned over to our Office of Professional Responsibility, which serves as the agency’s internal affairs component. These personnel changes will not affect the comprehensive security plan that has been prepared in advance of the President’s trip,” Donovan added.
The beach-resort city is hosting the Summit of the Americas this weekend. The president left Washington on Friday to attend the series of meetings with his Latin American counterparts. He is scheduled to return home Sunday.
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