The news of the Secret Service scandal is all over the news. The incident involved eleven United States Secret Service agents sent to Cartagena, Colombia to provide security for President Barack Obama at an international summit. The agents, sent a week ahead of the president, supposedly got involved in a situation between a prostitute and an agent in the hotel they were staying at. Reports also add the agents consumed large amounts of alcohol.
A new report states that one agent checked in a woman to visit. That alone sounds strange, he has to register visitors (and show her ID!) to his room? By hotel rules, all visitors have to leave by 7AM. When the woman had not left by the appointed time, the manager went to the agents room. He initially refused to open the door so the manager called police. When the police told her to leave, she refused claiming the agent owed her money! He denied it, but paid her anyway. The police reported the incident to the U.S. Embassy. Secret Service personnel at the Embassy started to investigate and when the special agent in charge of the Miami field office heard about the incident, she started her own investigation. Eleven agents were sent back to Washington and after being interviewed, were placed on leave.
Now, reports say that five members of the U.S. military may have taken part with Secret Service agents in the misconduct. The agents have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. The military personnel are ‘under orders not to have contact with other individuals and will return to the U.S. after the completion of their mission at the summit.‘
Even as more details come out in the media, many people following the story think that some of it just doesn’t ring true. The agents in the Secret Service are some of the best law enforcement/security professionals in the business. There are so many unanswered questions. If one agent had a prostitute in his room, why were eleven placed on leave? It’s hard to imagine that so many agents would try to cover up the actions of one fellow agent.
Rep. Peter King (R., N.Y.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, which oversees the Secret Service said, “You can’t have Secret Service agents compromising themselves or putting themselves in a position where they could be threatened or blackmailed. That ultimately threatens the safety of the president.” King made a point of saying that the president was never in any danger. This happened before he arrived at the Summit of the Americas and new agents had already been sent to Columbia to secure the presidents visit.
There is certainly much more to this story. None of the agents involved in the Secret Service scandal has been in trouble or faced any disciplinary action in the past. One might say ‘boys will be boys‘, however, these agents are hired because of their extraordinary ability to make level-headed choices. Perhaps one agent making such a juvenile error would be believable, but eleven, plus five members of the military? Hard to accept. Comments about the story online echo those thoughts, it just doesn’t make sense. Hopefully, the investigation will lead to the reinstatement of the agents. If not, there will be a lot more questions asked of this already secretive administration.
Â© Margie Wilson-Mars 2012