White House military agent now implicated in Secret Service scandal; parallel investigations continue
A White House military agent is now implicated in the ever-growing and intensely investigated Secret Service scandal.
The latest report, from Reuters, states that a 12th military service member, attached to the White House Communications Agency, was relieved of duties pending the outcome of an investigation. The story cites a U.S. defense official who would only speak on condition of anonymity. The prostitution scandal in Colombia caused the Pentagon to suspend the security clearances of personnel found to be implicated in the events.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in a story from MSNBC, reminded media that military members under investigation in the incident have had their security clearances suspended. Panetta spoke to reporters en route to Colombia for meetings with defense officials, where he announced the United States would continue to provide training, equipment and assistance that Colombia requested in order to defeat FARC, which he called a common enemy. His biggest worry in the scandal was security and what maybe was jeopardized by the very unguarded behavior of government employees, he stated.
Rep. Peter King, (R-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee which oversees the Secret Service program, is quoted in the story as saying, “I think we can expect in the next day or so to see several more agents being forced to leave the agency.” The scandal involves members of President Barack Obama’s advance team consorting with prostitutes in Colombia. It has angered many and caused several parallel investigations.
The incident greatly embarrassed the United States and by most accounts overshadowed the president’s participation at the summit. No matter the legal status where the act takes place, hiring prostitutes is prohibited for U.S. military personnel. Any convictions, under the military justice system, may mean imprisonment for up to a year and dishonorable discharges.