Twenty or 21 women were brought back to a hotel in Colombia by U.S. Secret Service and military personnel in an incident last week involving alleged misconduct with prostitutes, U.S. Senator Susan Collins said on Tuesday.
Collins was briefed by the director of the Secret Service, Mark Sullivan, on Monday evening. “There are 11 agents involved. Twenty or 21 women foreign nationals were brought to the hotel, but allegedly Marines were involved with the rest,” the Republican senator said in comments emailed to Reuters.
The Secret Service on Monday said it had revoked the top security clearances of the 11 employees, who have been placed on administrative leave due to the incident that marred President Barack Obama’s weekend trip to Colombia.
The agents brought a number of prostitutes back to a beachfront hotel in Cartagena, according to a local police source. A U.S. official told Reuters on Monday that more than 10 military service members also may have been involved.
“Director Sullivan is rightly appalled by the agents actions and is pursuing a vigorous internal investigation,” she said. “He ordered all the agents to return to Washington immediately, and all have been interviewed.”
The senator is the top Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, which shares jurisdiction over the Secret Service with the Judiciary Committee.
Collins said she asked Sullivan several questions, including who the women were. “Could they have been members of groups hostile to the United States? Could they have planted bugs, disabled weapons, or … jeopardized security of the president or our country?”
She also asked whether there was evidence of previous misconduct, and “given the number of agents involved, does this indicate a problem with the culture of the Secret Service?”
All good questions that need answers.
Stepping into the fray is the man who might just be able to supply them: