New Secret Service scandal in El Salvador?

posted at 10:01 am on April 26, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

It didn’t take too long for KIRO-TV to confirm what the Washington Post suggested yesterday — that the Secret Service scandal in Colombia was not a unique event.  CBS picked up on the report this morning, and reporter Chris Halsne tells what he found when he traveled to El Salvador this week:

This source witnessed the majority of the men drink heavily (“wasted,” “heavily intoxicated”) at the strip club. He says most of the Secret Service “advance-team” members also paid extra for access to the VIP section of the club where they were provided a number of sexual favors in return for their cash. Although our source says he told the agents it was a “really bad idea” to take the strippers back to their hotel rooms, several agents bragged that they “did this all the time” and “not to worry about it.” Our source says at least two agents had escorts check into their rooms. It is unclear whether the escorts who returned to the hotels were some of the strippers from the same club.

These alleged incidents in El Salvador occurred a full year prior to recent revelations that secret service agents used prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia, on a presidential trip this month.

To further confirm information provided about behaviors in El Salvador that reportedly occurred in March of 2011, Halsne interviewed the owner of the San Salvador strip club in which the subcontractor said they visited. The strip club’s owner confirmed a large number of U.S. secret service agents (and some military escorts) “descended on his club” that week prior to President Obama’s visit. He claims agents were there at least three nights in a row. “No surprise to me.” The owner told Halsne his club routinely takes care of high-ranking employees of the U.S. embassy in San Salvador as well as visiting FBI and DEA agents. The owner says his reputation for “security” and “privacy” makes him a popular strip club owner with “those who want to be discreet.” He told Halsne during a lengthy interview, he doesn’t allow prostitution inside the club and that all his “girls” are at least 18-years-old. He says the girls can do what they want after work, but he discourages them from making contact with customers at other locations.

Once again, this involves an advance team sent ahead to determine security risks and map out routes for the President.  The advance teams are critical for security, since the President’s protective detail cannot leave him to make those determinations for themselves.  Security depends on having a professional advance team focused on the job, and not on the strip clubs and hookers — and certainly not on allowing the hookers to stay in rooms where sensitive information about the visit and travel plans might be accessible.

Halsne says the Secret Service hasn’t contacted him yet to hear about his information on the El Salvador trip, but they will soon enough.  CBS reports that Halsne has the names of at least some of the agents involved:

Halsne reportedly has names of some of the agents allegedly involved in the partying and has viewed records which add credibility to the subcontractor’s eyewitness account.

Perhaps the House and Senate committees on Homeland Security will be interested in talking with Halsne, too.

 


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AH_C on April 26, 2012 at 1:21 PM

true that, my wife’s in the AF and given the nature of her job (U2s) she gets deployed to very nice locations, exotic islands and all…I visited here on multiple occasions to such locations and yep, the guys are and will be guys (they’re mostly guys that she deploys with)…so bad that in a couple of places the commander had to put a curfew in place, mostly coz of a couple of incidents with young guys who went out, got drunk our of their minds and ended up being beaten by locals…also stripper clubs that turned out they weren’t that (of course everybody locally knew that, only the few young, naive, gullible Americans service members didn’t) etc, etc..so, the commander had no choice but to institute curfew for all who deployed at that location afterwards…

jimver on April 26, 2012 at 1:31 PM

And here’s another TSA scandal.

Screeners Part of Drug Smuggling Ring

The country’s in the very best of hands!

PattyJ on April 26, 2012 at 11:36 AM

One of the worst mistakes of the post 9/11 was to federalize airport security …………. and, now they are unionized federal employees. I wonder for whom the majority of these people will be voting?

SC.Charlie on April 26, 2012 at 1:36 PM

..and I’m supposed to believe that this sort of thing didn’t happen when a Republican was President? wake up…it’s not unusual and unless it’s a firing offense for secret service to avail themselves of prostitutes/call girls, it will continue…stop being so naive and prudish!

Pragmatic on April 26, 2012 at 10:28 AM

Despicable

No other word suffices for the contempt I feel for the hypocrisy, misogyny (prostitution demeans women – but only in America), and moral equivalence of liberals (if it happened when a Republican was in office,WE get a free pass).

I spent 7+ years traveling internationally for my previous company. I visited many different countries and cultures in my travels. All of my expenses were paid for by the company. Like many others, this company has an ethical behavior policy. Every year I signed off on having adhered to the policy in all ways and at all times. I was never on my own time during this travel because I did not pay the airfare, hotel bills or meals associated with the travel. If I had an incident similar to the Secret Service agents while traveling, I would have been justifiably terminated FOR CAUSE.

I presume, like virtually all other LEO’s, the Secret Service has an ethics code as a condition of employment. In which case, it is more than time for a house cleaning.

PolAgnostic on April 26, 2012 at 1:37 PM

jimver on April 26, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Yup. Or how about exotic locations like Howard AFB, where the girls staked their turf in Billeting (both enlisted and officers), complete with Mama-san, to ‘girlfriend’ the troops as they rotated thru on TDY. Pick a girl and she’ll take care of you and your room until you rotate out.

On one Embassy Support rotation, it was so raucous all night long every night, that some of us complained and the unit commander instituted a midnight to 0500 curfew so that we could get some sleep.

Last I heard, the on-base brothel was shut down just before Pappy Bush went to war with Noriega and they never came back, AFAIK.

AH_C on April 26, 2012 at 1:40 PM

My focus on tactical security, not her breasts, er…

Herald of Woe on April 26, 2012 at 1:51 PM

AH_C on April 26, 2012 at 1:21 PM

I absolutely agree with you.
The Obozo’s really do think of themselves as being WELL above the rest of us. Having us pay for their kid to take spring break as a teenager is both disgusting and par for the course with these people.

This entire Administration is a disgusting disgrace to our country. This SS fiasco is just the latest in a long line of unethical behavior.

KMC1 on April 26, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Wow, the naivete of the people here is astounding.

Guess what folks!
Whoring and boozing is as much as part of soldiering as marching.

Nathan_OH on April 26, 2012 at 2:18 PM

I’m sure it’s been said before but I’ll say it again . . . based on the antics of the secret service, they should change the name from “White House” to “Whorehouse”.

rplat on April 26, 2012 at 2:23 PM

Whoring and boozing is as much as part of soldiering as marching.

Nathan_OH on April 26, 2012 at 2:18 PM

These aren’t the self-propelled sandbags. These are the POTUS security advance teams whose job is specifically to establish a secure zone.

pedestrian on April 26, 2012 at 2:23 PM

Wow, the naivete of the people here is astounding.

Guess what folks!
Whoring and boozing is as much as part of soldiering as marching.

Nathan_OH on April 26, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Nathan,

If you think a soldier can’t get his a$$ in a crack with whoring and boozing, WE are not the naive ones and YOU don’t know squat about soldiering.

Second point – virtually all LEO’s (you know, like the Secret Service) have ethical codes of behavior covering on and off duty behavior, foerign travel expectations, etc.

Third point – a United States citizen can be prosecuted for engaging in activities which are illegal in the Unites States even when they are legal in the country in which the activity took place. Google is your friend, ingnorance of the law is not.

PolAgnostic on April 26, 2012 at 2:31 PM

Hey taxpayers. Tired of paying for hookers?

faraway on April 26, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Being out-of-country, at least we are not paying for their abortions too./
Yes, that was sarcasm.

askwhatif on April 26, 2012 at 2:33 PM

A comment to the folks who think this is a “distraction” from ‘Fast & Furious’.

Bad media coverage is ALWAYS bad news for the folks under the microscope. It makes the media school of piranhas hungry for MORE!

So suddenly, Sharyl Atkinson may have competition from other networks looking into ‘Fast and Furious’ …

And some Secret Service agents may want some sympathetic coverage of their side of the story … in return for blowing the whistle on White House staffers who were engaged in the SAME hijinks …

Never complain about the opponent getting bad (from their point of view) coverage. 99% of the time, it works to your advantage.

PolAgnostic on April 26, 2012 at 2:39 PM

Last I heard, the on-base brothel was shut down just before Pappy Bush went to war with Noriega and they never came back, AFAIK.

AH_C on April 26, 2012 at 1:40 PM

gee, I didn’t hear anything that bad, though, not in the AF anyways…they do silly stuff, but that’s mainly when they are when my wfife deploys to these places, they stay mainly at hotels, she, not on bases, so you get the usual hotel policies…

jimver on April 26, 2012 at 3:58 PM

Of course this never ever happened before 2008. These agents were angels who suddenly turned under Obama.

Can’t wait to see further reports to start showing up. The ODS bunch will have a fun time blaming Obama and his time machine.

lester on April 26, 2012 at 4:57 PM

If these guys can’t keep it in their pants while they’re on the job they should resign and find another line of work. There is no down time when you’re a secret service agent on foreign soil and if proven true, these agents have some s’plainin’ to do.

redfoxbluestate on April 26, 2012 at 5:04 PM

I’m hateful, I want them to find someone from the White House involved. Especially after the in depth thorough investigation of themselves.

Cindy Munford on April 26, 2012 at 5:22 PM

I’ll say this again. This is NOT ok in the same way that miltary guys let loose while overseas. When they are on a mission, there IS no drinking and whoring. These Secret Service guys are ON their mission when they make advance preps.

Secret Service has law enforcement powers above and beyond most other agencies in that they can cuff you and drag you out of your house for simply saying the word “President” and a number of other words in the same sentence.

If these guys want to run around with their d*cks hanging out all the time they should transfer to DEA. Those guys are shooting each other in bar parking lots all the time.

TugboatPhil on April 26, 2012 at 5:48 PM

Of course this never ever happened before 2008. These agents were angels who suddenly turned under Obama.

Can’t wait to see further reports to start showing up. The ODS bunch will have a fun time blaming Obama and his time machine.

lester on April 26, 2012 at 4:57 PM

I would be surprised if it hasn’t been happening for a long time.

Nonetheless, when anything happened under Bush – for example Abu Ghraib – it was ‘clearly a reflection of the attitude of the person holding the Office of the President’.

I agree though, I can’t see where the Secret Service agents would get the idea that not taking the job seriously and treating it like an opportunity to vacation and blow of steam…

blindside on April 26, 2012 at 6:17 PM

This whole scandal is demoralizing; These dirtbags are responsible for the President’s safety. One slip up and we’re stuck with President Biden. I demand congressional hearings.

BettyRuth on April 26, 2012 at 10:15 AM

At this point, could Biden be any worse for America?

Wolfen on April 26, 2012 at 6:43 PM

It really comes down to one simple thing: does the leadership say, “no big deal?” Or does the leadership say, “There will be consequences?”

If leadership makes it clear that behavior like this on mission will not be tolerated, they’ll do it on their own time and away from the people and resources they’re supposed to be protecting.

But if it’s no big deal, then there’s no incentive to hide it or even to be careful.

That’s why even if you see this as basically, “boys will be boys,” you should still maintain discipline on a mission. People will do what the leadership tolerates.

There Goes The Neighborhood on April 26, 2012 at 8:05 PM

I’m sure this kind of thing has been going on for a long time, and despite people prattling on about secret presidential itineraries and weapons lying all over the place, I see no reason to believe that security has ever been compromised.

But someone once said never let a crisis go to waste, so I’m waiting for Obama to announce that presidential security is being taking over by an organization that he can trust… anybody seen Malik Zulu Shabazz lately?

halfbaked on April 26, 2012 at 8:54 PM

Like I said yesterday, what were the odds that on the very first time they ever tried something like that it would blow up in their face that way, on the very first time ever? Am I clairvoyant or what?

Pole-Cat on April 26, 2012 at 10:47 PM

One of the worst mistakes of the post 9/11 was to federalize airport security …………. and, now they are unionized federal employees. I wonder for whom the majority of these people will be voting?

SC.Charlie on April 26, 2012 at 1:36 PM

I agree with you about the TSA. This should not be a surprise. They are about as effective as any other large Government agency.

Piggybacking on a comment I heard today from a guest on a news program…… He suggested we hire returning vets for airport security. They have skills, they are a known entity, and many face unemployment when they leave the military. Wouldn’t it be a win win to focus on this pool of Americans to fill the ranks of the TSA?

Red State State of Mind on April 27, 2012 at 10:59 PM

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