A dozen Secret Service agents assigned to protect President Obama this weekend in Colombia were sent home after allegations that at least one of them was found screwing around with prostitutes.
The bodyguards were relieved of duty because of accusations involving sex workers in Cartagena, Colombia, the site of a summit of more than 30 world leaders.
“There have been allegations of misconduct made against Secret Service personnel” in the Colombian port city, Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said, refusing to confirm that prostitution was involved.
But Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, told the Washington Post the accusations relate to at least one agent having sex with prostitutes in Cartagena.
Donovan said the incidents in question occurred before the President’s arrival Friday night.
A source within the Secret Service has been quoted as saying
at least one of the officers had been involved with prostitutes and there may have been a dispute over payment leading one of the prostitutes to go to the police, who alerted the State Department. at least one of them had sex with her and the trick spilled the beans after he refused to pay her. Several of the men are married of course!
The scandal marks a major black eye for the White House — and threatened to overshadow Obama’s economic and trade agenda at the Summit of the Americas.
The White House had no comment.
The accused agents have been replaced by other agency personnel, Donovan said.
“These personnel changes will not affect the comprehensive security plan that has been prepared in advance of the President’s trip,” Donovan said.
It was not the first time members of Obama’s security detail landed in hot water.
Last November, a federal agent with the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security was charged with second-degree murder after shooting a man during a dispute outside a McDonald’s in Hawaii.
The agent, Christopher Deedy, was off-duty at the time, but was on the island to do security work in advance of Obama’s trip to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
In August, an off-duty Secret Service agent was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in Decorah, Iowa, where he was helping arrange security for Obama’s bus trip through three Midwestern states, the Washington Post reported. The agent, Daniel Valencia was sentenced to two days in jail with credit for time served, and a fine of $1,250.