(Newsroom America) – Secret Service agents who allegedly brought prostitutes to their hotel rooms in Cartegena, Colombia last week ahead of a visit to the South American nation by President Obama brought the girls “into contact with sensitive security information,” said a House panel investigating the incident to the head of the agency.
In a letter to Director Mark J. Sullivan, Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee, and the panel’s top Democrat, Elijah Cummings of Maryland, said the “nation’s capacity to protect the President, Vice President, and visiting foreign leaders, among others, is dependent on the character and judgment of the agents and officers of the U.S. Secret Service. The actions of at least 11 agents and officers in Colombia last week show an alarming lack of both.”
ABC News reported that the letter came in response to Sullivan expressing concern to congressional investigators Monday that sensitive information was in one or more of the rooms in the Hotel Caribe when the prostitutes were there.
“The facts as you described them raised questions about the agency’s culture,” the lawmakers wrote. “The incident in Cartagena is troubling because Secret Service agents and officers made a range of bad decisions, from drinking too much, to engaging with prostitutes, to bringing foreign nationals into contact with sensitive security information, to exposing themselves to blackmail and other forms of potential compromise.”
Issa and Cummings also requested details about the incident, which included a “description of the Secret Service’s current understanding of possible agent misconduct that occurred on the evening of Wednesday, April 11 and the morning of Thursday, April 12,” a “complete description and account of all U.S. Government personnel who were involved in or had contemporaneous knowledge of misconduct by agents and officers,” as well as a timeline and summaries of all disciplinary actions since 2002 that have been taken against the 11 agents and officers involved in the Colombian incident.
Finally, the lawmakers want to know if “all women involved in this incident were at least 18 years of age,” according to ABC News.
The letter comes a day after three agents, including at least one supervisor, were forced out of the Secret Service in the wake of the scandal.
“Although the Secret Service's investigation into allegations of misconduct by its employees in Cartagena, Colombia, is in its early stages, and is still ongoing, three of the individuals involved will separate or are in the process of separating from the agency,” said said Paul S. Morrissey, the assistant director of the U.S. Secret Service Office of Government and Public Affairs, in a statement.
The supervisor was allowed to retire, one agent resigned and the third was “proposed for removal for cause,” said the statement.
Reports have said as many as 10 U.S. military members were also involved. Defense Department officials are investigating and have pledged to take appropriate action against any member found to have violated rules.
© 2012 Newsroom America.