Secret Service team booted from Colombia for misconduct

posted at 9:16 am on April 14, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Call me old-fashioned, but I liked it better when Secret Service agents focused on protecting the President when working on advance teams — especially when traveling to potentially volatile areas, like Colombia can still be.  Instead, a team of a dozen agents that worked to set up security for President Obama’s visit to the Summit of the Americas has been sent back home, as at least one member of the team apparently focused more on going, er, undercover:

The U.S. Secret Service is investigating allegations of misconduct by agents who had been sent to Cartagena, Colombia, to provide security for President Obama’s trip to a summit that began there Friday.

Edwin Donovan, an agency spokesman, said that an unspecified number of agents have been recalled and replaced with others, stressing that Obama’s security has not been compromised because of the change. Obama arrived in Cartagena on Friday afternoon for this weekend’s Summit of the Americas, a gathering of 33 of the hemisphere’s 35 leaders to discuss economic policy and trade.

Donovan declined to disclose details about the nature of the alleged misconduct. But Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, said the accusations relate to at least one agent having involvement with prostitutes in Cartagena.

Both the Post and the AP reported on this protectus interruptus late last night.  The Post got the story from its former reporter Ronald Kessler, who has written a book about the Secret Service’s personal protection mission, specifically regarding the presidents.  The story flew around Twitter last night; I got it from Marc Ambinder, who like me couldn’t recall a scandal like this in the Secret Service.  The Post recalls two recent cases of potential misconduct in the last few months, however.  One involved charges of drunken driving by an agent on an advance team in Iowa last August, and in November an agent got charged with second-degree murder for an off-duty shooting in Honolulu — again while working on an advance team for an Obama summit [see update II].

As it turns out, the Secret Service sent an advance team to Colombia for a good reason:

Fears of violence marred Saturday’s opening of a summit gathering US President Barack Obama and Latin American leaders when four bombs went off here and in the Colombian capital.

Two of the crude devices exploded in the resort city of Cartagena just hours after the US leader arrived for regional talks set to focus on the vicious drug wars stalking the region.

Two other small bombs exploded near the US Embassy in Bogota, in an area which is also home to important government buildings.

“Nobody was killed, nobody was injured, and there was no damage,” a police official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Brothels are legal in Colombia in certain “tolerance zones,” but the Secret Service forbids agents to indulge while traveling.  (Several of the members of this unit are married as well, which should make for some interesting conversations when they return home very early from their travels.)  In case some readers believe that the Secret Service’s concern is mere prudery, having agents engage in this behavior is not just distracting, but potentially exposes them to blackmail and extortion attempts, and possibly a “honey trap” espionage operation, although probably less likely.  And let’s not forget that the State Department’s official position on prostitution in Colombia is not that it’s staffed by self-actualized libertarians who voluntarily join for the great salary and benefits, emphasis mine:

Colombia is a major source country for women and girls subjected to sex trafficking in Latin America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, Asia, and North America, including the United States, as well as a transit and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor. Within Colombia, some men and children are found in conditions of forced labor in mining and agriculture, and the sex trafficking of women and children from rural areas into urban areas remains a significant problem. …

Some Ecuadorian children, many of them indigenous, are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking in Colombia. Illegal armed groups forcibly recruit children to join their ranks; an international organization estimates that at least 10,000 children participate in illegal armed groups. Members of gangs and organized criminal networks force relatives, acquaintances, and displaced persons – typically women and children – into conditions of sex trafficking and forced labor, including in the illegal drug trade. Colombia is a destination for foreign child sex tourists from the United States and Europe, particularly to coastal cities such as Cartagena and Barranquilla.

This is an embarrassment to the US on multiple levels.  If the charges are true, DHS should be advertising for one or more open positions in the Secret Service.

Update: I had forgotten that the Secret Service was moved out of Treasury and into the Department of Homeland Security.  I’ve corrected it above.

Update II: The shooting incident involved an agent from the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, not the Secret Service.  The Post included it because the agent was on the advance security team for Obama’s Asia summit, and I didn’t read it closely enough.  Thanks to reader Marilu for the correction.


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canopfor on April 14, 2012 at 12:07 PM
————————————–

Cool!

VegasRick on April 14, 2012 at 12:10 PM

VegasRick:-:)

canopfor on April 14, 2012 at 12:13 PM

VegasRick on April 14, 2012 at 12:12 PM

I believe they busted Obama or one of his inner staff scoring some coke, and this is payback.

Roy Rogers on April 14, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Oops,sorry Capt`n Ed,I didn`t see the S/S linkys:)

canopfor on April 14, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Related Colombia story as told by the AP: In a television interview, Obama promised immigration reform early in his second term. He blames the inaction thus far on those darned Republicans in Congress.

onlineanalyst on April 14, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Is there possibly a weak link in the SS? Recall that W had to push away a troublemaker personally when he was in South America not too many years ago? Did this take place in Colombia, too?

How about the fact that W had to lob the shoe back at the disgruntled Iraqi journalist. W’s quick reflexes were faster than those supposedly hired to protect him.

OTOH, Roy Rogers’s suggestion is not that far-fetched either.

onlineanalyst on April 14, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Secret Service sounds like a place for Rob Gronkowski!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYpqqPxy1Ws&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Maybe he could move into the Secret Service after he is finished with his NFL career.

PappyD61 on April 14, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Oh gawd,too funny,news headline by Daily Mail,me thinks
Lee Marvin would not be impressed!!

Obama’s Dirty Dozen:
*********************

12 Secret Service agents sent home in disgrace after drink fuelled encounter with prostitute…who exposed them after they refused to pay
UPDATED: 12:36 GMT, 14 April 2012
———————————-

At least one of the agents is reported to have been found cavorting with Colombian prostitutes
Several of the 12 men sent home are married
The misconduct is believed to have occurred before the President’s arrival in Colombia for the Summit of Americas

Hotel employee claimed that the men were drinking heavily prior to the incident(More…)
=====================

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2129618/Obamas-Dirty-Dozen-12-Secret-Service-agents-sent-home-disgrace-drink-fuelled-encounter-prostitute–exposed-refused-pay.html

canopfor on April 14, 2012 at 12:40 PM

At least one of the agents is reported to have been found cavorting with Colombian prostitutes
Several of the 12 men sent home are married
The misconduct is believed to have occurred before the President’s arrival in Colombia for the Summit of Americas

Hotel employee claimed that the men were drinking heavily prior to the incident(More…)

canopfor on April 14, 2012 at 12:40 PM

I believe this as much as I believe #obamacaresaboutme

Roy Rogers on April 14, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Ok then….. I can’t recall any other such reports about the Secret Service.. Has moral fallen that far?

or have standards fallen in hiring?

Whatever the cause,,, there needs to be a thorough house cleaning.. these guys protect the president, the leader of the free world, not a time for amateur hour antics.

What has changed in the SS for something like this to happen?

mark81150 on April 14, 2012 at 12:51 PM

The funny thing is that, if you’ve ever worked on a Democrat presidential campaign you know that — if they want it — Service guys generally have all the women they can handle, for free.

urban elitist on April 14, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Fixed.

Del Dolemonte on April 14, 2012 at 12:52 PM

In this dudes defense Colombian broads are super hot and he’s probably not bug nuts crazy with all that religious BS that plagues the fatties around here.

Your Mamma loves me on April 14, 2012 at 12:53 PM

He was ACQUITTED by a Senate controlled by the GOP.

Nuff Said.

HondaV65 on April 14, 2012 at 10:21 AM

900 FBI Files.

Nuff Said.

Del Dolemonte on April 14, 2012 at 12:54 PM

The bigger question is why the President of the US is travelling to a country like Colombia. I don’t care which party to which the president belongs, travel to a country like Colombia seems like a very high risk, low reward trip.

AZfederalist on April 14, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Translated: “This is All Bush’s Fault!”

Del Dolemonte on April 14, 2012 at 9:19 AM

No, anybody with half a brain would read that as “It’s not Obama’s fault” as it was being implied on the other thread that you copied this from.

lester on April 14, 2012 at 10:53 AM

half a brain expert checks in.

Thanks so much for sharing that.

Del Dolemonte on April 14, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Del Idiote, the above comment is an example.

lester on April 14, 2012 at 10:54 AM

You’re Boring.

Del Dolemonte on April 14, 2012 at 12:56 PM

And let’s not forget that the State Department’s official position on prostitution in Colombia is not that it’s staffed by self-actualized libertarians who voluntarily join for the great salary and benefits, emphasis mine:

LMAO…dunno if you’re doing this on purpose, but regardless – it’s hilarious!!

Tim_CA on April 14, 2012 at 12:58 PM

When was the last time Obama was honest about anything?

This is either a cover story or a distraction from something else.

Roy Rogers on April 14, 2012 at 12:11 PM

They found Vera Baker.

RickB on April 14, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Baseless speculation is a better description of what you are serving up…
Bradky on April 14, 2012 at 11:58 AM

Baseless? Where’ve you been hiding out for the last three years. I suppose you think nothing this administration has done warrants a suspicious attitude? At the very least I’ll bet money his apparatchiks are even now making sure this crisis isn’t wasted.

Back to sleep, Bradky. We’ll wake you when the last of your personal freedoms come under government scrutiny.

Cleombrotus on April 14, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Hopey,AF-1 and Entourage landing,and debarking in Columbia!
————————————————————–

Barack Obama arrives at Colombia for the Summit of Americas.
The United States president will be in Cartagena for 3 days to attend the Summit of Americas.

Cartagena, Colombia.
Added: 10 hours ago Occurred On: Apr-13-2012
********************************************

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=7f3_1334384167

canopfor on April 14, 2012 at 12:59 PM

The federal government no longer has standards, just cushy jobs for lazy immoral liberals who love to waste other people’s money. The country needs none of them.

ray on April 14, 2012 at 1:06 PM

I thought SS belonged to Dept. of the Treasury…no?

MooCowBang on April 14, 2012 at 1:07 PM

The latest!
———–

Government sources tell NN preliminary findings show prostitutes were brought back to a hotel by Secret Service

Submitted 59 secs ago
http://www.breakingnews.com/
============================

canopfor on April 14, 2012 at 1:10 PM

He is the DOTUS

………….and he’s even destroying the Secret Service.

12:01 on January 20, 2013 cannot come soon enough.

PappyD61 on April 14, 2012 at 1:10 PM

D

el Dolemonte on April 14, 2012 at 12:52 PM

I hear there’s plenty of fun to be had with the Republicans – though probably not on the Santorum campaign. Probably the Calista effect.

urban elitist on April 14, 2012 at 1:13 PM

The buck still stops in Crawford, according to the Democrats.

unclesmrgol on April 14, 2012 at 1:15 PM

The federal government no longer has standards, just cushy jobs for lazy immoral liberals who love to waste other people’s money. The country needs none of them.

ray on April 14, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Do you THINK before you post?

What details do you know here? Do you really think that SS agents actually use your taxpayer funds to pay for prostitutes? Sure – you pay their travel and per-diem to go down there to do a job – but I doubt that when you go on business travel that BUSINESS is all you do. Let he without sin cast the first stone here.

We don’t know who this was – we don’t know if this was Protective Detail, or CAT, or Communications or other SS support.

Fact is – prostitution is LEGAL in Columbia – so what’s the big deal? “Blackmailable”? It’s only blackmailable because people like you give a rat’s ass about other people’s business, even when what they’re doing is legal. Busybody much? I better never hear you complaining the next time a liberal wants to tax or take away your soft drink.

HondaV65 on April 14, 2012 at 1:37 PM

What has changed in the SS for something like this to happen?

mark81150 on April 14, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Who they’re protecting.

Can drive a man to drink, and other things …

IrishEyes on April 14, 2012 at 1:50 PM

I imagine that the SS detail was trying to line up some entertainment for the potus and red flags were raised when instead of regular blow and a buxom gal they requested crack and a maricón.

I wish I was joking.

esnap on April 14, 2012 at 1:51 PM

Secret Cervix agents.

justltl on April 14, 2012 at 2:06 PM

HondaV65 on April 14, 2012 at 1:37 PM

LOL, looks like a nerve was struck, waste other people’s money much?

ray on April 14, 2012 at 2:06 PM

Government sources tell NN preliminary findings show prostitutes were brought back to a hotel by Secret Service

Submitted 59 secs ago
http://www.breakingnews.com/
============================

canopfor on April 14, 2012 at 1:10 PM

The same hotel where WH staff and reporters were staying. I am having a very hard time believing they would be that stupid.

dogsoldier on April 14, 2012 at 2:09 PM

Sounds like we need a bigger stimulus after all.

Jeff2161 on April 14, 2012 at 2:15 PM

#secretservicepickuplines

Put your hands where I can’t see them.

“Let me show you something Bill Clinton taught me.”

“let me introduce you to All The Presidents Men.”

I’ll keep the sunglasses on.

I’m with the government, and I’m here to help.

Show me your oval office.

How about we call this one a Free Trade Agreement?

“I need to make sure those aren’t counterfeit.”

Brought it? I AM protection.

You won’t be able to keep this service a secret.

Green_Bay_Packers on April 14, 2012 at 2:16 PM

Now we have this report:

FTA:

“They had arranged to have a bunch of prostitutes come by and one of the agents refused to pay a prostitute,” said author Ronald Kessler, one of the leading experts on the Secret Service.

and

Kessler said two of the agents were supervisors who attempted to cover up the mortifying incident.

A former Secret Service member told The New York Times that only one one agent tried to purchase the services of a hooker — but the whole team was recalled as part of the investigation.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/secret-service-agents-busted-refused-pay-hooker-source-article-1.1061657#ixzz1s2WhkKMU

Why did the agent refuse to pay? We are led to believe these guys hired the hookers for themselves, but the article leaves that important point ambiguous.

dogsoldier on April 14, 2012 at 2:16 PM

Why is the SS paying Biden rent of $21,000 to protect him?!

http://www.whitehousedossier.com/2012/04/14/biden-earned-21000-year-secret-service/

FLconservative on April 14, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Secret Service Officers Sent Home Were Not Tasked With Guarding President Obama
…YEAH, they were on a taxpayer funded vacation with taxpayer-funded prostitutes. IT’S NOT JUST THE GSA THAT’S A TOTAL WASTE OF OUR TAX MONEY – IT’S THE ENTIRE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT!!!!!!!!!

TeaPartyNation on April 14, 2012 at 2:45 PM

No way you would have 12 agents doing this crap when Bush was President. Maybe one rogue agent, but not 12. Yes, I know the President isn’t in charge of managing the Secret Service.

Wigglesworth on April 14, 2012 at 2:47 PM

Why is the SS paying Biden rent of $21,000 to protect him?!

http://www.whitehousedossier.com/2012/04/14/biden-earned-21000-year-secret-service/

FLconservative on April 14, 2012 at 2:19 PM

The REAL question is: How many hookers does pimp “Bite-Me” provide them for that payment.

TeaPartyNation on April 14, 2012 at 2:47 PM

Green_Bay_Packers on April 14, 2012 at 2:16 PM

LMFAO!

Spectacular.

Tim_CA on April 14, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Secret Cervix agents.

justltl on April 14, 2012 at 2:06 PM

And Green_Bay_Packers put the frosting on the cupcake.

onlineanalyst on April 14, 2012 at 3:05 PM

Maybe they were doing advance work at the brothels…for Barack…kidding, kidding.

It’s the modern version of the royal food taster.

Tc0061 on April 14, 2012 at 3:26 PM

Hooker summit at the White House. Biden and Billy Jeff
requested it.

Texyank on April 14, 2012 at 6:43 PM

Hotel employee claimed that the men were drinking heavily prior to the incident(More…)
=====================

canopfor on April 14, 2012 at 12:40 PMI thnk I’d be drinking pretty heavily myself working for Barry.
Thanks canopfor! Your links ROCK!

katy the mean old lady on April 14, 2012 at 7:21 PM

Should it surprise anyone that people charged to protect with their lives such a despicable President would seek the company of other prostitutes?

mrmiji on April 14, 2012 at 7:41 PM

green bay packers FTW!!!!

ted c on April 14, 2012 at 8:09 PM

dude. Peter King of NY is sezzin’ that almost all of these fellers had a callgirl in his respective room. Guys? Really? Could you be a bit more obvious?

A dozen hookers? sheesh…..

ted c on April 14, 2012 at 8:25 PM

Is there no honor anywhere anymore? I know it is easy (and fun) to try and blame this on Obama and his administration but ultimately it just seems like a very sad indictment of our culture.

I mean these guys are responsible for protecting the President of the United States and his staff in one of the most risky areas of the world and they can’t even execute their duty and job without some incident that embarrasses the U.S.

mrveritas on April 14, 2012 at 9:58 PM

When I was a flight attendant (23 Years flying) we would lay over in these places and one thing was interesting to me.
We’d go to the hotel bar and there would be lots of women. They would be well dressed, and I used to think they were other flight attendants with other airlines but they were not.
They were, government prostitutes. Yep. ladies who worked directly for the government. They gave a cut of what they made to their government.
Can’t say how I found out about it but suffice it to say some pilots were very surprised when after taking one of these ladies to their room and doing whatever, they were asked for payment.
Big surprise to a guy who thought he’d just picked up a honey.
Not saying this is what happened but ??? One guy says, “no money honey” and the government steps in.
The hotels we stayed in were top of the line too.
Just sayin..

Delsa on April 15, 2012 at 1:14 AM

When you live around corruption, daily protect corrupt people, and have corrupt leadership it takes an extraordinary human to avoid becoming corrupt himself.

{^_^}

herself on April 15, 2012 at 2:41 AM

mrmiji on April 14, 2012 at 7:41 PM

I hope you are not implying that these prostitutes were for the President’s enjoyment. After all, he loves his wife. I read it in People . . .

BigAlSouth on April 15, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Anybody know what the Secret Service agent prostitute per diem is?
How does it compare to that for d-cRAT socialist governors of New York?

OBOZO won’t fire, reprimand or otherwise upset any SS agent over this for two reasons:
1. OBOZO desperately needs the prostitute vote in November and he doesn’t want to offend them. (To understand the significance of this voting block note that it has kept dingy-harry reid in office for decades.)
2. One of OBOZO’s greatest fears is that somebody in the SS will tell the public about his long-time affair with his girlfriend Vera Baker. Every time Mooch goes off on a taxpayer-funded luxury vacation, OBOZO has the SS bring Baker to the WH for a game of “hide the chocolate salami.”

Note to all those rich d-cRAT socialists – forget the Buffett Rule and instead go for the Prostitute Rule – extra taxes on the rich to fund a prostitute for EVERY federal bureaucrat. It’s a matter of “fairness” – why should just GSA and the Secret Service be the only one to have all the fun.

TeaPartyNation on April 15, 2012 at 4:17 PM

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