Twelve Secret Service agents have been relieved from their duties after claims they spent the time set aside for planning President Obama’s visit drinking and visiting prostitutes.
They were on location in Cartagena, Colombia, preparing for Obama’s arrival and participation in the Summit of the Americas. But instead, they engaged in activities that caused a scandal that could possibly overshadow the summit itself.
A source within the Secret Service has reportedly said at least one of the officers had hooked up with prostitutes. Many of the 12 men are also, according to the source, married – and a few hold supervisory positions.
But it isn’t even the moral or legal complications that blew this story open. Prostitution is legitimate in designated ‘zones’ in Colombia – and while the Secret Service considers solicitation inappropriate for its agents, it’s also not an actual crime.
In fact, the whole thing could have simply happened with no one being the wiser, had it not been for the money. Apparently, being in the President’s employ doesn’t pay as well as one might think, and one of the prostitutes went to police saying the men refused to pay up. The police notified the State Department, and the story, with all its sordid details, unraveled from there.
It’s not the first time the President’s men have been caught in flagrante delicto, either. Just a few months ago, a federal agent with the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security was charged with second degree murder, after shooting a man in Honolulu. Though the agent was off duty at the time, he was on the island to provide advance security arrangements for Obama’s trip to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.
And in August, another Secret Service agent was arrested for a DUI in Iowa, where he was helping arrange security for Obama’s bus trip through three Midwestern states.