White House staff involved in Cartagena brothel scandal?

posted at 8:41 am on September 20, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Will the Cartagena brothel case make an unwelcome reappearance in the middle of Barack Obama’s re-election efforts?  That’s what sources from law enforcement and Capitol Hill told Fox News yesterday, saying that an upcoming report on the Secret Service scandal will also name two White House staffers as suspects:

Federal law enforcement personnel and a congressional committee are anxiously awaiting an overdue inspector general’s report that they believe may reveal the involvement of two White House advance team members in the Secret Service prostitution scandal in Colombia earlier this year.

While much of the attention in the case has focused on the actions of Secret Service personnel, multiple law enforcement and congressional sources tell FoxNews.com that investigators also discovered two White House advance team members checked in prostitutes as overnight guests at a Cartagena hotel in the days before President Obama’s April 13 visit.

“Three U.S. delegation members that stayed at the Hilton brought prostitutes back as overnight guests. One of them was ours (Secret Service) and the other two were White House staffers,” a high-ranking Secret Service official told FoxNews.com. “We knew very early that White House staffers were involved.”

Actually, the worry is that the report won’t name names in the White House.  The Senate Homeland Security Committee has apparently long known of the involvement of the White House staffers, and expected to have that information formally from the IG when the report was due in July.  The report has been delayed, however, while the IG allows the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security to comment on its findings.  That has members of the committee wondering whether the IG will include that commentary separately, or plans to change the report after the comments but before the report is presented to the committee.

To that end, the committee sent a letter to the IG inquiring about the process and the delay — which one source described as a warning to the IG to resist any pressure to water down their findings:

“We are writing to inquire about the status of the investigation we requested into the April 2012 incidents in Cartagena, Colombia, involving the U.S. Secret Service and possibly other federal personnel and certain foreign nationals,” the letter said. It was not clear what level of White House advance team personnel were involved or if they had access to classified material about the president’s visit.

The letter contained questions including the date the draft report was completed; if the report had been submitted to Secret Service and DHS for comment; and whether those comments will be identified separately in the final report. It also asks: “Have any changes been made to the report in response to comments received from the Secret Service or the Department?”

“Obviously we’re worried the draft version of the report — what the DHS IG investigators found on the ground in Cartagena — is going to get changed and edited before the final version gets out,” said a Secret Service source with knowledge of the IG’s initial findings.

Frankly, I don’t see this as a big enough scandal to get in the way of Obama’s electoral hopes.  If the White House was that concerned about it, they would have fired the staffers already (and maybe they have).  The delay doesn’t really help them, either; July would have been a much better release date in political terms, when most voters weren’t paying attention to Washington, and the topic wouldn’t have been refreshed just as the presidential debates neared.  The only way a delay helps is if the report doesn’t come out until later in November, after the election — and the Senate committee clearly wants answers earlier rather than later.

Even if the report identifies two White House advance team members as part of the, er, festivities, the obvious response will be to can them and declare the issue closed.  I’d put this in the same category as Mitt Romney’s “secret” remarks on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — not a big deal in terms of the election.


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So is anyone surprised when Ole Slick is the hero of the 2012 Democrat Convention.

rhombus on September 20, 2012 at 8:44 AM

No wonder Bill Clinton volunteered for the Obama campaign.

meci on September 20, 2012 at 8:45 AM

WH staffers have been doing it to the country for the last 3 1/2 years. Why would this be a surprise?

Agent of the Cross on September 20, 2012 at 8:46 AM

Hiltongate

onetrickpony on September 20, 2012 at 8:47 AM

If this had happened in GWB’s administration, the MSM would have been calling for his head.

On the other hand, could you imagine something this tawdry happening in a Bush administration to begin with?

I guess it isn’t real scandal for the Obama White House since we have set the bar so low for the current administration. Does anything shock us anymore?

the_souse on September 20, 2012 at 8:48 AM

Pimps with Staffs.

Electrongod on September 20, 2012 at 8:49 AM

More bad news for Obama.

bluegill on September 20, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Frankly, I don’t see this as a big enough scandal to get in the way of Obama’s electoral hopes.

Bill Clinton’s various alleged rapes & his harassment of a young intern in the WH itself didn’t bother these people, so WTF would this?

Badger40 on September 20, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Hos everywhere in this White House.

Philly on September 20, 2012 at 8:51 AM

More bad news for Obama.

bluegill on September 20, 2012 at 8:50 AM

How? To Dems this sort of thing only enhances the resume, so expect their enthusiasm to rise. As for those that might be bothered, the MSM will ensure they hear as little about it as possible.

changer1701 on September 20, 2012 at 8:53 AM

Pimp with a limp. Name names.

Philly on September 20, 2012 at 8:54 AM

It’s gotten to the point that I’m starting to expect “ACTION ALERT” daily reports that someone in this administration ISN’T breaking the law.

Bishop on September 20, 2012 at 9:04 AM

It may not be enough to “harm” Obama directly, but it helps with building the overall narrative of Obama for voters who may be on the fence. Every little thing helps with pushing that 5-6% of independents further away from Obama and into the Romney column. From his crashing foreign policy…to the “it was a video…no…it was a terror attack after all”…to redistribution…to this lack of morals on behalf of White House staffers… It is things coming to light which will help those undecideds make up their minds to NOT vote for Obama. I say every little bit helps!

Highlar on September 20, 2012 at 9:04 AM

Culture starts at the top…..when there’s a republican pres.

Ben Hur on September 20, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Frankly, I don’t see this as a big enough scandal to get in the way of Obama’s electoral hopes.

The rat-eared bastard could have been caught in that Hilton with a young boy and the press would still cover for him. This is a nothing-burger compared to all the other corruption that has been glossed over by this administration. Why for example is the HHS Secretary still in her job after violating the Hatch Act?

Happy Nomad on September 20, 2012 at 9:07 AM

Agreed that this is a stupid move by WH employees and that the administrative policies should be used to discipline/remove them. The only way this is a scandal is if someone else in the WH intervened to keep the discipline/removals from happening.

Rufus on September 20, 2012 at 9:07 AM

Culture starts at the top…..when there’s a republican pres.

Ben Hur on September 20, 2012 at 9:05 AM

It also produces yogurt.

Happy Nomad on September 20, 2012 at 9:07 AM

Were Anthony Weiner or Eliot Spitzer part of the advance team, making advances?

Steve Z on September 20, 2012 at 9:07 AM

Women have always been welcomed into the presence of powerful Democrat men…as long as they know their place, dutifully write on their hands, “War on Women,” and lovingly cross their hearts while pledging undying support to their Dear Leader.

MNHawk on September 20, 2012 at 9:08 AM

Will the Cartagena brothel case make an unwelcome reappearance in the middle of Barack Obama’s re-election efforts?

It’s just a crescendo of “The White House denies this” and “The White House denies that” only for it to come out that the White House lied.

Resist We Much on September 20, 2012 at 9:08 AM

If the staff members aren’t married, why do we care again?

libfreeordie on September 20, 2012 at 9:08 AM

We have not been able to authenticate the staffers’ stiffees.

-MSM

HoustonRight on September 20, 2012 at 9:09 AM

The rat-eared bastard could have been caught in that Hilton with a young boy and the press would still cover for him.

Happy Nomad on September 20, 2012 at 9:07 AM

Correction: He could cut Michelle’s throat live on PPV and the press would still cover for him.

Resist We Much on September 20, 2012 at 9:10 AM

Was David Vitter there too?

libfreeordie on September 20, 2012 at 9:10 AM

glad to see ed pooh pooh malfeasance from these communists, as to keep with his progressive leanings. you’re outing yourself every time you downplay the horrid antics of these leftists, idiot!

tm11999 on September 20, 2012 at 9:11 AM

Was David Vitter there too?

libfreeordie on September 20, 2012 at 9:10 AM

Doubtful. But John Favreau, definitely a possibility.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2008/12/obama-favreau.html

Bishop on September 20, 2012 at 9:13 AM

Frankly, I don’t see this as a big enough scandal to get in the way of Obama’s electoral hopes. If the White House was that concerned about it, they would have fired the staffers already (and maybe they have).

It might depend on WHO the White House staffers were. If they were no-name low-level staffers who are not in the public eye, they will be canned and forgotten. But if they were highly-public staffers like Axelrod or Plouffe or Cabinet members, it would reflect badly on Obama that he hires unserious people.

Steve Z on September 20, 2012 at 9:13 AM

If the staff members aren’t married, why do we care again?

libfreeordie on September 20, 2012 at 9:08 AM

Because such behavior while working on the advance team would be unprofessional. Because such situations can lead to the individual being compromised and/or turned to provide classified material to people who shouldn’t have it. Because the individuals were giving access to unauthorized individuals into a supposedly secured area where the President would be staying…….

Still confused why you are such an effing moron???? This isn’t about the sex.

Happy Nomad on September 20, 2012 at 9:14 AM

If the staff members aren’t married, why do we care again?

libfreeordie on September 20, 2012 at 9:08 AM

Would you care if they were?

Goldenavatar on September 20, 2012 at 9:14 AM

If the staff members aren’t married, why do we care again?
libfreeordie on September 20, 2012 at 9:08 AM

Their salaries. Our money.

kingsjester on September 20, 2012 at 9:15 AM

You can play it down if you desire, Ed . . . but for me these people are scum that have violated a trust.

rplat on September 20, 2012 at 9:16 AM

If the staff members aren’t married, why do we care again?

Because this type of behavior compromises the President’s security in numerous ways. It also endangers our country by potentially providing information to our enemies.

Prostitutes as a counter-intelligence tool are as old as dirt. Unless this was a deliberate counter-intelligence gathering move on our behalf, it is a foolish, dangerous and stupid endeavor.

It is the job of these people to protect our President and our country. That requires integrity, commitment and a certain level of decorum. It is not an excuse for frat house behavior and personal debauchery.

You want to engage in that type of behavior? It’s your right. But find another job.

Marcus Traianus on September 20, 2012 at 9:17 AM

Women have always been welcomed into the presence of powerful Democrat men…as long as they know their place, dutifully write on their hands, “War on Women,” and lovingly cross their hearts while pledging undying support to their Dear Leader.

MNHawk on September 20, 2012 at 9:08 AM

Lovingly cross their hearts but not their legs. Seriously, where but the Dem party can you have a political convention that starts with a tribute to a drunk old womanizer who killed a woman and was known to be one half of waitress sandwiches. And then end the convention with a confirmed serial rapist introducing the party’s candidate. Yeah, Dems really care about women. They just want to ensure that they don’t get “punished” nine months later.

Happy Nomad on September 20, 2012 at 9:18 AM

If the staff members aren’t married, why do we care again?

libfreeordie on September 20, 2012 at 9:08 AM

Exactly.

So an administration staffer dresses in a gimp outfit, brings a half dozen hookers to his hotel room for an orgy, and gets videotaped having glass beads shoved up his ass, no big deal.

The U.S. is a laughingstock under Bark anyway, might as well tarnish the image a bit more.

Bishop on September 20, 2012 at 9:19 AM

Marcus Traianus on September 20, 2012 at 9:17 AM

+100

HoustonRight on September 20, 2012 at 9:19 AM

If the staff members aren’t married, why do we care again?

libfreeordie on September 20, 2012 at 9:08 AM

I heard that same thing back in the late 90′s about Clinton

…oh wait…

Electrongod on September 20, 2012 at 9:19 AM

A fish rots from the head.

If the White House staff is OK with this, and members of the Secret Service are OK with this…what does this say about their leadership?

I blame Obama.

After all, he is till putting all the blame on everything on Bush.

Fair is far, right?

coldwarrior on September 20, 2012 at 9:19 AM

Were I anywhere in this admin I’d seriously question my personal safety and security.

hoosiermama on September 20, 2012 at 9:22 AM

Frankly, I don’t see this as a big enough scandal to get in the way of Obama’s electoral hopes.

It will be if the staffers were procurring male prostitutes for either themselves or the President.

RobertE on September 20, 2012 at 9:22 AM

The report has been delayed

…and this is new from the most transparent administration ever?…whenever have you not heard the word “delay” in dealing with these kids?

KOOLAID2 on September 20, 2012 at 9:23 AM

Were I anywhere in this admin I’d seriously question my personal safety and security.

hoosiermama on September 20, 2012 at 9:22 AM

Were I anywhere in this admin I’d seriously question my life choices, moral compass, and sanity.

Happy Nomad on September 20, 2012 at 9:23 AM

Leadership, real leadership, requires you to set the tone, define what’s acceptable and what will not be tolerated, establish clear lines and standards. Subordinates look to leaders for guidance and…well, leadership. People, by their very nature, will look to see what they can get away with and what will be clamped down on. This is as clear a sign of failed leadership at all levels as anything else I’ve seen from this administration.

Trafalgar on September 20, 2012 at 9:25 AM

hoosiermama on September 20, 2012 at 9:22 AM

Under this Administration, a lot of Americans are seriously questioning their personal safety and security.

coldwarrior on September 20, 2012 at 9:25 AM

More hoes in the WH than the hoes in Mooch’s garden ?

petefrt on September 20, 2012 at 9:27 AM

glad to see ed pooh pooh malfeasance from these communists, as to keep with his progressive leanings. you’re outing yourself every time you downplay the horrid antics of these leftists, idiot!

tm11999 on September 20, 2012 at 9:11 AM

Dude…….you’re to the right of Ed Morrissey?

libfreeordie on September 20, 2012 at 9:30 AM

If the staff members aren’t married, why do we care again?

libfreeordie on September 20, 2012 at 9:08 AM

The advance team, including Secret Service agents, military and members of the White House staff, are sleeping with prostitutes in drug-infested Colombia, which is right next door to Venezuela, who has whackjob leader, who is fighting cancer, poverty, massive inflation, starvation, crime, and a growing and restive opposition while par-taying with Iran, Russia and narco-terrorists linked to Hezbollah and is claiming that the US caused his cancer, Obama is going to invade his country, and the Jews are sending out “evil rays” from the Israeli Embassy. I mean, what could go wrong?

After all, the administration has proven that it does a crack job with security…just ask Ambassador Chris Stevens. Oops!

I want my **eyeroll** font and I want it now!

Resist We Much on September 20, 2012 at 9:35 AM

Were I anywhere in this admin I’d seriously question my life choices, moral compass, and sanity.

Happy Nomad on September 20, 2012 at 9:23 AM

Under this Administration, a lot of Americans are seriously questioning their personal safety and security.

coldwarrior on September 20, 2012 at 9:25 AM

True, true. I cannot wait until the frat party leaves town, and the adults are back in charge. The media portrays Romney as a boring, white-bread square. Oddly enough, that sounds terrific to me.

hoosiermama on September 20, 2012 at 9:37 AM

47 days!

Kissmygrits on September 20, 2012 at 9:39 AM

Resist We Much on September 20, 2012 at 9:35 AM

Not to mention that Venezuela and Colombia are engaged in an undeclared war, with Chavez shielding and arming FARC, and Venezuelan military making incursions into Colombia over oil pipelines. No, nothing could go wrong with prostitutes compromising US officials.

Trafalgar on September 20, 2012 at 9:42 AM

If women are going to get free condoms from this administration, I demand free taxpayer-paid Colombian hookers. Media Matters, you know how to contact me. Make me famous.

The Rogue Tomato on September 20, 2012 at 9:57 AM

Before you all go getting excited, the media will consider this a nothing burger and it’ll pass into the hall of the forgotten Obama Administration scandals.

hawkdriver on September 20, 2012 at 10:28 AM

Tagged my comment and not the quote by mistake. Duh.

Frankly, I don’t see this as a big enough scandal to get in the way of Obama’s electoral hopes.

It will be if they were procurring male prostitutes for either themselves or the president.

RobertE on September 20, 2012 at 10:38 AM

If the staff members aren’t married, why do we care again?

libfreeordie on September 20, 2012 at 9:08 AM

We already know folks like you and Dear Leader don’t care how our tax money is spent. $16T ring a bell? How about $1T a year?

Why you insist on repeatedly shoving a message we already get is incomprehensible.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on September 20, 2012 at 10:42 AM

Consider this story buried.
Yours Truly,The Media.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on September 20, 2012 at 10:46 AM

Squirrel.

The Rogue Tomato on September 20, 2012 at 11:03 AM

It might depend on WHO the White House staffers were. If they were no-name low-level staffers who are not in the public eye, they will be canned and forgotten. But if they were highly-public staffers like Axelrod or Plouffe or Cabinet members, it would reflect badly on Obama that he hires unserious people.

Steve Z on September 20, 2012 at 9:13 AM

Or Valerie J…

cptacek on September 20, 2012 at 11:03 AM

The morning of November 22, 1963, there were a bunch of Secret Service agents that had hangovers from drunken partying the night before. It was reported that they were partying until 4:00am. They were at a bar with members of Dallas PD, and the bar was owned by a buddy of Jack Ruby’s. The bar was also a notorious spot for hookers to congregate and pick up johns.

slickwillie2001 on September 20, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Were Anthony Weiner or Eliot Spitzer part of the advance team, making advances?

Couldn’t have been Carney — by all accounts the hookers were female…

Dirty Creature on September 20, 2012 at 11:14 AM

This would be a media scandal, as well. Any reporter could have found out the exact names and details back then by questioning the prostitutes, but the whole lot of them felt the need to cover it up.

Buddahpundit on September 20, 2012 at 11:16 AM

The White House HIDE something? Nah, they wouldn’t do that, would they? I’m sure Barry will cover his staffers. Does “Executive Privilege” cover something like this? Even Clinton didn’t go that far.

GarandFan on September 20, 2012 at 11:33 AM

glad to see ed pooh pooh malfeasance from these communists, as to keep with his progressive leanings. you’re outing yourself every time you downplay the horrid antics of these leftists, idiot!

tm11999 on September 20, 2012 at 9:11 AM

Dude…….you’re to the right of Ed Morrissey?

libfreeordie on September 20, 2012 at 9:30 AM

actually i’m just not willing anymore to accept the leftist progressive notion that making evil mainstream doesn’t effect the choices of the youth of america! madison ave will tell you that a picture of an ice cream sundae will make people want one, why T.V. shows that portray homosexuals as well dressed and happy not allow young people to surmise that there must not be anything bad about that lifestyle. the same with the funny drunk and the mellow pothead, make them out to be funny and o.k. and you’ll get more of them, ergo, the lazy “wheres my check” i’m entitled generation. why, it must be o.k. to make doctors treat you , even after a life of abusing your body with drugs and alcohol. that’s akin to slavery, and the quality of doctors will diminish until we are utilizing a doctor lottery like canada does. think of it this way, who’ll study for years to be a proctologist or urologist for $15.00 dollars an hour….hmmmmmm?

tm11999 on September 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Nixon rolled over and said, “Holy crap!”

BKeyser on September 20, 2012 at 12:02 PM

TYhe Cartegena scandal – the desparate reach of a floundering campaign and its supporters

plewis on September 20, 2012 at 12:55 PM