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Entries in Secret Service (4)

Friday
May042012

Secret Service Escort Says US Agents 'Showed No Respect'

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- One of the Colombian escorts at the center of the Secret Service scandal emerged from hiding Friday, recounting in detail her night in Cartagena with a member of President Obama's protective detail, saying she fears for her safety.

Dania Suarez, a 24-year-old dark-haired beauty, appeared on a televised Colombian radio call-in program Friday morning, telling callers the agent was "heavily intoxicated" and everything in his luggage and his papers was left open in his room and could have been easily stolen.

Asked if she had been a spy could she have removed the papers, Suarez said, "Absolutely, absolutely."

Suarez says she met the agent at a disco where they danced and she began to rub her hands over his body.

"He was a very clumsy dancer," she said of the agent, identified in published accounts elsewhere as Arthur Huntington, who has left the Secret Service under circumstances that are unclear.

She said that Huntington did not appear to be searching for a prostitute but that "I found him."

Suarez said Huntington fell asleep when they returned to his room and refused to answer the question of whether they actually had sex.

"If I answer this you will know what happened," she said.

Suarez said the agent "did not feel he got what he was being asked to pay for" and that this led to dispute over how much he owed her at the end of the evening.

She said she does not consider herself a prostitute, but an escort because prostitutes "are lower class and live in brothels."

She confirmed other accounts that the agent offered her $30, which led to a confrontation at the agent's door and drew the attention of the hotel manager and local police.

She said the agents pleaded, "Please, please, no police, no police."

Suarez said she left Colombia for a few days because of concerns her life could be in danger and has had no contact with any American official.

"Maybe they are just as dumb as the Secret Service agents," she told the station.

Throughout her appearance this morning, dressed in a skimpy green blouse, Suarez laughed and smiled even as the host reminded her of the seriousness of the scandal.

"This is who I am and all I really care about is my mother and my young son," Suarez said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May022012

Women in Secret Service Scandal Not Tied to Terrorism, Cartels

USSS(WASHINGTON) -- Investigators have found that nine of the Colombian women who were drinking and partying with Secret Service personnel last month in Colombia were paid for their services, Congressional sources tell ABC News. 

The Secret Service has now interviewed most of the women, who range in age from 20 to 39, and none were found to have any ties to terrorist organizations or drug cartels.

That information has allayed fears on Capitol Hill that the wild night of partying by Secret Service personnel in Colombia compromised the President’s safety, or national security.

The scandal unfolded when 175 Secret Service agents and officers traveled to Cartagena, Colombia last month to make advance preparations for President Obama’s trip to the Summit of the Americas.  The prostitution allegations became public when a Colombian woman at the Hotel Caribe complained to police that a Secret Service employee did not pay her the agreed-upon price for her services.  The police informed U.S. Embassy officials, and the seedy details of agents’ drinking heavily, visiting strip clubs, and bringing escorts back to the Hotel Caribe became an international scandal.

The Secret Service also provided Congressional investigators with more details of who exactly was involved with the escorts: two of the 12 employees were supervisors; three were snipers and another three were members of a Secret Service counter-assault team. Their careers ranged in length from two years to 22 years.  Nine of the 12 people involved took polygraph exams, but three refused – including the supervisory agent who had the original dispute over payment with the Colombian escort. Nine of the 12 involved have resigned or been fired by the Secret Service, two agents have been cleared, and one is appealing disciplinary action.

Last Friday, the Secret Service announced that all agents must complete ethics training before being eligible for foreign travel.

The new rules say:

  • “Patronization of non-reputable establishments is prohibited.
  • “Alcohol may not be consumed at the protectee hotel once the protective visit has begun.
  • “Foreign nationals, excluding hotel staff and official counterparts, are prohibited in your hotel room.”
  • “Alcohol may only be consumed in moderate amounts while off-duty on … assignment and alcohol use is prohibited within 10 hours of reporting for duty.”


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr192012

Colombian Prostitutes Are Interviewed by Investigators

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(CARTAGENA, Colombia) -- 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, ABC News has learned.

So far, one Secret Service supervisor implicated in the case has retired, and a lower-level official is resigning. The Secret Service is trying to fire one supervisor, but he is expected to appeal the removal.

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.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday that the investigation is "moving with some speed," but he wouldn't say when it is expected to be done.

President Obama is getting regular updates, but he hasn't spoken recently with the Secret Service director, Carney said.

Carney said no staff members involved with the White House West Wing or the president's office were involved.

Meanwhile, the Colombian prostitute who sparked a fight with Secret Service agents that led to the scandal now has a more public identity. The New York Daily News Thursday published four photos of a 24-year-old mother who the paper said is the escort.

The night that the agents met the prostitutes, Secret Service officials booked a party space at a hotel in Cartagena, Colombia, before going out to nightclubs, ABC News reported Thursday. The men drank whiskey at a brothel, bragged about working for Obama, and brought women from the club back to their hotel after picking up more escorts, sources said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr152012

Secret Service Scandal: Agents' Conduct Scrutinized

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Secret Service, congressional and military investigators are conducting a methodical fact-finding mission into allegations of misconduct by a security detail assigned to a Colombian hotel ahead of President Obama's visit.

Eleven Secret Service agents and five military service members have been accused of cavorting with prostitutes and drinking excessively at the Hotel Caribe in Cartagena.

Since adult prostitution is legal in Colombia in designated "tolerance zones," officials said the investigation would center less on moral or legal aspects of the alleged behavior and more on whether Secret Service and military protocols were violated -- and whether the security of the president could have been compromised.

"If all this happened, this compromised the agents themselves," House Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., told ABC News. "It left [the agents] open to be threatened and blackmailed in the future. ... They could have been threatened or blackmailed secondly to bring prostitutes in an area that's a secured zone. It just violates a basic code of conduct."

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who chairs the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee, said Congress will also scrutinize the Secret Service as a whole to determine whether and how often similar situations may have happened before.

"In this particular case, the president may not have been in danger. But that begs the question -- what happens if somebody six months ago, six years ago became the victim of their own misconduct and is now being blackmailed?" Issa said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

"The question is, is the whole organization in need of some soul searching, some changes before the president, the vice president, members of the cabinet are in danger?" Issa said.

The Secret Service members were interviewed Saturday in Washington and have been placed on administrative leave. If the allegations are proven true, they could face reprimands and could be fired.

The Defense Department restricted to their quarters five personnel who were assigned to assist the Secret Service for alleged participation in the inappropriate conduct. They will return to the United States for questioning at the conclusion of the mission, officials said.

The House Homeland Security Committee, which oversees the Secret Service, has also launched an inquiry.

The Secret Service most recently faced public embarrassment and intense scrutiny in November 2009 when several agents allowed two uninvited guests onto White House grounds for a state dinner and photo line with the president. The so-called "Gate-crasher" incident resulted in three agents later being placed on administrative leave.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio