Thursday, November 23, 2017

No charges for military in scandal

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WASHINGTON — Seven Army soldiers and two Marines have received administrative punishments, but are not facing criminal charges, for their part in the Secret Service prostitution scandal in Colombia this year, the Associated Press reported.

U.S. officials said one Air Force member has been reprimanded but cleared of any violations of the Military Code of Justice, the AP reported. And final decisions are pending on two Navy sailors whose cases remain under legal review.

The U.S. Southern Command, headed by Gen. Douglas Fraser, conducted the investigation into the military members' involvement in the April incident, which brought shame to the elite presidential protection force and unearthed revelations of other episodes of misconduct within the Secret Service.

The military service members, all enlisted personnel, were assigned to support the Secret Service in preparation for a visit to the coastal resort of Cartagena by President Barack Obama. All of the military service members had behind-the-scenes roles and were not directly involved in presidential security.

The U.S. officials spoke about the investigation on condition of anonymity because the results have not been released, the AP said. Military officials were expected to brief Congress members on the matter.

Of the nine who were given administrative punishments, three have asked for courts martial, which would provide them with a public trial to contest the decisions, the U.S. Southern Command said in a statement. Military members have the right to turn down administrative punishments and instead seek a trial.

A dozen Secret Service officers, agents and supervisors were implicated in the Colombia scandal. Eight have been forced out of the agency, three were cleared of serious misconduct and at least two employees are fighting to get their jobs back.

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