Friday, December 15, 2017

3 Secret Service agents leaving amid prostitution inquiry

WASHINGTON — Three Secret Service agents implicated in the agency's prostitution scandal in Colombia, including two supervisors, are leaving the agency as investigators seek to determine whether the embarrassing episode led to a security breach.

Officials said it appeared that none of the 11 agents who allegedly brought prostitutes to their hotel rooms in Cartagena before President Barack Obama visited for a summit last weekend had weapons, radios, itineraries or other potentially sensitive documents in their rooms.

Paul Morrissey, assistant director of the Secret Service, said in a statement Wednesday that one agency supervisor was allowed to retire, another was "proposed for removal for cause," and a nonsupervisory employee resigned.

Morrissey said the supervisor being fired had 30 days to appeal. None of the three was identified.

Morrissey said the investigation was in its early stages and involved "all investigative techniques available to our agency," including polygraphs, interviews with the agents involved, and witness interviews conducted in Cartagena.

Eight other agents implicated in the incident are on administrative leave and have had their security clearances suspended.

"Since these allegations were first reported, the Secret Service has actively pursued this investigation, and has acted to ensure that appropriate disciplinary action is effected," Morrissey said. "We demand that all of our employees adhere to the highest professional and ethical standards and are committed to a full review of this matter."

Ten members of the military who also stayed at the hotel face a separate Pentagon investigation on charges of misconduct.

The agents and military members were part of a team sent to Cartagena to help secure government buildings and other facilities before Obama's arrival.

Investigators have begun to interview at least 20 women thought to be prostitutes who were brought into the hotel.

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