3 agents out in wake of Secret Service prostitution scandal

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WASHINGTON — The Secret Service forced out three agents Wednesday in a prostitution scandal that has embarrassed President Barack Obama. A senior congressman welcomed the move to hold people responsible for the episode but warned “it’s not over.”

The agency announced three agents are leaving the service even as separate U.S. government investigations were under way.

The Secret Service did not identify the agents being forced out of the government or eight more it said remain on administrative leave. In a statement, it said one supervisor was allowed to retire and another will be fired for cause. A third employee, who was not a supervisor, has resigned.

The agents were implicated in the prostitution scandal in Colombia that also involved about 10 military service members and as many as 20 women. All the Secret Service employees who were involved had their security clearances revoked.

“These are the first steps,” said Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, which oversees the Secret Service. King said the agency’s director, Mark Sullivan, took employment action against “the three people he believes the
case was clearest against.” But King warned: “It’s certainly not over.”

King said the agent set to be fired would sue. King said Sullivan had to follow collective bargaining rules but was “moving as quickly as he can. Once he feels the facts are clear, he’s going to move.”

The embarrassing scandal erupted last week after 11 Secret Service agents were sent home from the colonial-era city of Cartagena on Colombia’s Caribbean coast after a night of partying that reportedly ended with at least some of them bringing prostitutes back to their hotel. The special agents and uniformed officers were in Colombia in advance of President Barack Obama’s arrival for the Summit of the Americas.

Source: Associated Press