WASHINGTON — The Secret Service has formally adopted new policies that ban excessive drinking and sharing work-related information on social media sites, five months after employees were accused of drunken partying with prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia.
The written policies, obtained by the Washington Post, were released to most agency employees this week. They make clear what Secret Service leaders say were always part of the unwritten code of conduct for the federal agency, which protects the president and other dignitaries.
Agency Director Mark Sullivan and members of Congress concluded that the rules had to be codified to prevent incidents like the one in Cartagena in April from occurring. They also sought to make such behavior a fireable offense: A handful of the agents implicated in taking prostitutes to their hotel rooms had fought the agency's attempt to dismiss them, saying that they had broken no existing rules.
The incident was the most embarrassing ethics scandal the Secret Service has faced in its history, and it led to a dozen employees involved in the president's security being flown home hours before President Barack Obama arrived in South America for an economic summit.
According to records reviewed by the Post, agents are now required to sign a nondisclosure agreement, which warns they could be terminated and prosecuted if they share security-sensitive information or personal details about their "protectees."