US Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan has issued stricter guidelines to agents deployed on foreign assignments, which the agency described as ‘common-sense enhancements of existing rules’ governing employee responsibilities and conduct, to prevent any repeat of the ‘prostitution scandal’ that happened recently in Colombia.
The agents travelling overseas would be banned from drinking on duty, visiting disreputable establishments and bringing foreigners into their hotel rooms, all of which were not included in the rules before, that gave some of them reason to believe they could act in accordance to their whims while preparing for security for President Barack Obama’s regional summit visit in Cartagena earlier in the month.
They would be allowed to accommodate only hotel staff and ‘official counterparts’ in their hotel room, and a ‘moderate’ alcohol consumption when necessary.
The ‘refinements to existing rules’ were made following reported involvement of at least 12 Secret Service agents and several military personnel in ‘a night of sex and drink’ at the Colombian port city in an incident which later became an embarrassment to the agency and the White House.
The Secret Service said the agents and the military personnel involved were immediately removed from duty and replaced before President Obama arrived for the summit that his safety has never been compromised.
BBC said all 12 agency staff have now resigned or faced disciplinary action.