Secret Service Agents and the Colombia Prostitution Scandal

Posted on April 19, 2012

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“WASHINGTON (AP) — Moving swiftly, the Secret Service forced out three agents Wednesday in a prostitution scandal that has embarrassed President Barack Obama. A senior congressman welcomed the move to hold people responsible for the tawdry episode but warned ‘it’s not over.’”

The scandal involved about 10 military service members, as many as 20 women, and approximately four trained monkeys. All the Secret Service employees who were involved had their security clearances revoked.  The prostitutes  are under observation in their places of business.  The monkeys have been denied bananas until they are willing to make a statement.

The embarrassing scandal erupted last week after 11 Secret Service agents were sent home from the colonial-era city of Cartagena on Colombia’s Caribbean coast after a night of partying that reportedly ended with at least some of them bringing prostitutes back to their hotel. The special agents and uniformed officers were in Colombia in advance of President Barack Obama’s arrival for the Summit of the Americas.

Two U.S. military officials have said the episode also includes five Army Green Berets, as well as two Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians, two Marine dog handlers and an Air Force airman. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still under way, but did offer that the dog handlers were there solely in a professional capacity, keeping the dogs under control and supplying dog collars to those who needed them.

An Obama spokesperson was clear to state that the incident occurred before Obama arrived and was at a different hotel than the president stayed in.  In addition, Obama uses all of his free time when travelling to read the Bible and work at local soup kitchens.

New details of the sordid night emerged Wednesday. A 24-year-old self-described prostitute told The New York Times that she met an agent at a discotheque in Cartagena and after a night of drinking, the pair agreed the agent would pay her $800 for sex at the hotel. The next morning, when the hotel’s front desk called because the woman hadn’t left, the pair argued over the price.

“I tell him, ‘Baby, my cash money,'” the woman told the newspaper in an interview in Colombia. She said the two argued after the agent initially offered to pay her about $30 and the situation escalated, eventually ending with Colombian law enforcement involved. She said she was eventually paid about $225.

When asked later why he referred to the prostitute as “self-described,” the journalist said he was unable to uncover either any written certification or verbal confirmation that she was actually a prostitute.

“I went to various houses of prostitution in an attempt to verify her status,” he said.  “I found not one person who had ever heard of this woman, but I did learn a lot of stuff I never knew before. From now on, I’m going to save all those plastic peanuts I usually throw out.”

The tawdry episode took a sharp political turn when presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said he would fire the agents involved.  Romney told radio host Laura Ingraham on Wednesday that “I’d clean house” at the Secret Service.

“The right thing to do is to remove people who have violated the public trust and have put their play time and their personal interests ahead of the interests of the nation,” Romney said.

“I believe the right corrective action will be taken there and obviously everyone is very, very disappointed,” Romney said. “I think it will be dealt with (in) as aggressive a way as is possible given the requirements of the law.”

When asked, the Romney campaign would not say whether Romney had been briefed on the situation or was relying upon media reports for details. A Romney spokesperson was quick to respond.

“Briefing, schmiefing. Mr Romney doesn’t need briefing.  This is why he will be such an outstanding leader for our country.  He is able to form opinions based on absolutely nothing.  We need someone like that in charge.”

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said that for now, he is interested in what actually happened.  To that end, he has placed his name on the wait list for the photos and videos that are currently circulating among members of Congress.

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