Secret Service Scandal Spreads, Stretches to El Salvador

The U.S. Secret Service is investigating a new wave of allegations involving its agents soliciting prostitutes and strippers in El Salvador.

The agency is investigating news reports alleging that about a dozen agents paid for the services of prostitutes while in El Salvador last year. Photo: Md Imran/Flickr

A US government contractor who worked with the Secret Service last year revealed that that there was a separate incident involving the security force and foreign sex workers even before the recent scandal out of Colombia.

As a report from Seattle TV station KIRO claims, the source said that around a dozen Secret Service agents may have engaged in inappropriate behavior in March 2011 while on assignment in El Salvador.

The insider added that several agents as well as US military specialists on assignment in the capital city of San Salvador drank heavily at a strip club, then paid admission to the bar’s VIP section where further sexual services could be purchased in the days before the presidents’ visit.

“Obviously, we will inquire of our embassy in San Salvador with regard to the conduct of our own employees. But the article alleges that they attended the establishment, not that they engaged in any illegal or unsanctioned conduct,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.

As Reuters claims, Senator Joseph Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said Thursday he was disappointed with the results of the latest allegations.

“I keep running into people who say they have talked to agents who tell them of misconduct of this kind over the years,” he said and revealed his plans to hold hearings into whether there was a pattern of such behavior.

A Secret Service spokesman said Thursday the agency would pursue any “credible” information brought to its attention.

“The recent investigation in Cartagena has generated several news stories that contain allegations by mostly unnamed sources. Any information brought to our attention that can be assessed as credible will be followed up on in an appropriate manner,” the spokesman said.

By the way, President Obama has recently said majority of secret service agents perform work admirably and blamed bad behaviour on ‘couple of knuckleheads’.

“What these guys were thinking, I don’t know. That’s why they’re not there anymore,” Obama said during a taping of an appearance on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon TV programme while on a visit to North Carolina.

“99.9 per cent of Secret Service agents put their lives on the line and did a great job. These guys are incredible. They protect me, they protect Michelle, they protect our girls, they protect our officials all around the world,” Mr Obama continued. “A couple of knuckleheads shouldn’t detract from what they do.”

The Colombia scandal went public on April 12, following a fight over payment between a prostitute and a secret service officer spilled into the hallway of the Hotel Caribe. Since then, a dozen secret service employees and 12 military personnel have been implicated.

The UK’s Guardian says, eight of the secret service officers had to resign, and the agency is currently trying to revoke the security clearance of one, and three others have been cleared of serious wrongdoing but will face administrative discipline.

According to the reports, one of the secret service officers, involved in scandal, was staying at the Hilton hotel in Cartagena, Colombia, the same hotel where President Barack Obama later stayed for the summit of the Americas.

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