Report By: Nina Rai
Washington, Oct.21, 2012:
Shocking news reports emerge of the US Secret Service being embroiled in rampant "culture of acceptance" towards hiring foreign prostitutes, despite staunch denial by the agency’s director Mark Sullivan.
The Homeland Security inspector general that is conducting the investigation into the matter has found cases where the Secret Service agents have used the services of foreign nationals for sex in Panama City, El Salvador, China and Romania.
This information is courtesy US lawmakers who have gone through the report, which has not yet been released as the inquiry is ongoing. Homeland Security took over the scandalous case when allegedly 12 US Secret Service employees were found to be drinking and frolicking with prostitutes in their hotel rooms ahead of President Obama’s visit to Cartagena, Colombia, earlier this year.
Mark Sullivan testifying before Congress in May had stated the Colombia incident was an isolated one and that prostitute solicitation is not a broader "culture" malaise within the Secret Service agency. 'This just is not part of our culture,' said Sullivan emphatically. Further based on his own internal investigation, he also testified that American national security was never jeopardized by the agents' dealing with the foreign prostitutes.
However, the inspector general's report raised red flags when the names of two females, already found to be involved in the Cartagena incident with US Secret Service agents, were checked at the national security and law enforcement databases.
Wisconsin Sen. Rob Johnson, a ranking Republican on the Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, believes that Sullivan was well aware when he testified before Congress that the said two females’ names raised red flags in the Homeland Security report.
In a lengthy memo released on Friday, Oct. 19, 2012, Rob Johnson said that he spent two days reviewing the report and wrote: "Unfortunately, there are discrepancies between the statements made and the information' in the report. Johnson further reveals that the report concludes that the 'solicitation of prostitutes may be more prevalent than Congress was led to believe, and that there may be a culture of acceptance," inside of the Secret Service.
According to Johnson the DHS OIG investigation found one agent "self-reported to having solicited prostitutes both in El Salvador and Panama" in 2008-2009. He wrote: "The investigation further uncovered allegations of similar misconduct in China and Romania," going on to add that at least eleven service personnel "admitted to having knowledge of similar misconduct occurring on other occasions."
Another Republican member Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee too has expressed his concern over the report finding saying: "It looks like the inspector general's report confirms our fear that there is a broader history of inappropriate action by personnel within the Secret Service. Even worse, the IG report casts doubt and suspicion on the statements that national security wasn't at risk," he added.
However, Sen., I-Conn., brushed aside the concerns of the Republicans stating they were jumping to conclusions based on an investigation that was still ongoing. 'This unauthorized leak of sensitive, selective information from the IG's report is unfair to the United States Secret Service and its director, Mark Sullivan," he accused.
Staunchly defending the US Secret Service and its chief, the chairman of the Homeland Security committee said: "Both have served our nation honorably and ably for a long time and deserve the benefit of a presumption of innocence unless real evidence leads to a different conclusion. I will await the Inspector General's finished report before making any judgments."
Hiring or solicitation of prostitutes by US Secret Service agents is against the service rules of the agency. It’s a violation of American military law (UCMJ) since it can result in human trafficking.
Besides, hiring prostitutes or hookers by the service agents is a dangerous game. It is a potential security breach and hazard, jeopardizing even US national security. On the personal front for the agents, firstly its not professional behavior. It renders them liable to blackmail not to forget lowering their credibility and distracting them from their mission.
In case the Homeland Security investigation concludes that there is indeed widespread "culture of paid sex" with prostitutes and hookers being hired for sex, then it would be a very big scandal much bigger than what took place in Colombia.
Heads are bound to roll not least being the Chief of the US Secret Service agency, Director Mark Sullivan. Hope for Sullivan’s sake the investigation clears the shadow of suspicion over the agents conduct and proves what he testified before Congress that the Colombia incident was an isolated one and not a widespread malaise within the US Secret Service agency.
Source: Daily Mail/Fox News
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