Monday, April 23, 2012

UPDATED: THE SECRET SERVICE - A STAIN THAT WON'T BE GONE SOON


The scandal over allegations that Secret Service agents brought prostitutes to their hotel rooms in Colombia ahead of a visit by President Obama keeps growing.  The number is now 12 members of the Secret Service and 11 in the military under investigation for unethical behavior in Cartagena, Colombia.  All their identities have not been revealed.  However, two Secret Service supervisors who made the trip, David Chaney and Greg Stokes, were fired last week by the SS.  In addition, one supervisor and three other employees were allowed to retire from the agency.  [I’m fairly sure this means they will keep the fat perks of ‘retirement’.]    Of the remaining six employees implicated in the scandal, one has been cleared of serious misconduct (but will face administrative action) and five continue to be on administrative leave, with their security clearances suspended.  These people were all members of the advance team preparing for President Obama’s visit. 

This entire episode shows a total lack of character and judgment by the people tasked with the protection of our highest leaders.  Heads should roll.

On Fox News Sunday, Senate committee Chairman Joe Lieberman questioned whether there's a pattern of misconduct, saying there would be lots of questions that would have to be answered.

One spokesman for the SS said the events of this trip were a combination of alcohol, testosterone and hubris.  Well, alcohol has always been available, and the hubris that comes with these select jobs is no surprise.  And the testosterone… My opinion is, now that Pandora’s Box (no pun intended) has been opened, digging is going to find an ongoing pattern of behavior within the ranks that may bring down many more in the SS.  Think about it.  There is no way in the world that these 11 agents are the only ones in the agency engaging in this behavior.  I suggest they were selected for this advance work BECAUSE they were known to be party animals and were known to keep their mouths shut.  I would bet my right arm they have ALL done this before, probably more times than the American people, and SURELY the American president wants to know.


As an aside, I find it comical that Congressmen Darrell Issa and Elijah Cummings requested to know if the women involved were all over 18 years of age.  I mean – seriously?  They are concerned about this?  One ‘prostitute’ [the one who blew the whistle when she didn't get her $800,  above] whose pictures have been all over the media and the internet IS 24 – and she has a 9-year old SON!  Do the math!  Surely Congress has bigger fish to fry than THAT one.

Prior to today, this scandal seemed to be centered in the Hotel Caribe [the 'cheap seats' pictured above].  Now news is leaking out that agents in the Cartagena Hilton also took prostitutes to their rooms.  


Apparently Obama was to stay at the Hilton [pictured above] and there are many questions regarding possible compromising of detailed information of the president’s visit. 

The military involvement has received less media attention.  In yesterday’s Washington Times, a news story began like this: 

Military personnel sent to Cartagena, Colombia, to set the stage for President Obama’s recent visit violated a strict 11 p.m. curfew, a Pentagon official said.  The official told The Washington Times the confirming evidence comes from eyewitnesses and possibly from security cameras at the Hotel Caribe.  The military contingent stayed in the hotel with a Secret Service detail that now is under investigation for purported excessive drinking and engaging with prostitutes.  The official said it is still to be determined if the military enlisted personnel, which includes Army Green Berets, committed any other serious offenses.

If any members of the military are convicted of ‘soliciting a prostitute’, they can face dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of pay, and up to a year of confinement.  The military investigation is separate from the Secret Service investigation, even though the 11 military members WORK DIRECTLY for the Secret service.

Ladies and gentlemen – this scandal cannot and SHOULD not be swept under the rug and resolved in the back halls of government.  It needs the sun shined on it from every direction.
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UPDATE!  A U.S. News and World Report story reveals the incident isn't a new one. The secret service has dealt with a party culture for more than a decade.

In 2002, there were multiple instances of agents driving drunk, some even reported to the White House for work under the influence of alcohol.

Then there was the raucous party the Secret Service detail threw in Provo, Utah during the early morning of February 1, 2002. The party allegedly included underage girls and loud music. The hotel manager was threatened while trying to break up the festivities and local law enforcement had to investigate allegations of sexual assault in the wake of the party.

The story uncovered instances of secret service agents assigned to the Elite Counter Assault Team watching pornography in the basement of the White House. Sworn affidavits of several agents said their supervisors in Miami and Ohio would hire strippers to come to the official offices.

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