Four investigations into allegations of a sex scandal involving Secret Service agents began over the weekend, as President Obama said he would be “angry” if the allegations proved true.
“If it turns out that some of the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed, then of course I’ll be angry, because my attitude with respect to the Secret Service personnel is no different than what I expect out of my delegation that’s sitting here,” said Obama at the end of a Summit of the Americas meeting in Cartegena, Colombia.
“We’re representing the people of the United States, and when we travel to another country, I expect us to observe the highest standards because we’re not just representing ourselves, we’re here on behalf of our people,” he said.
“And that means that we conduct ourselves with the utmost dignity and probity. And obviously what’s been reported doesn’t match up with those standards.”
Two congressional committees, along with the Defense Department and the Secret Service itself have all launched probes into allegations that 11 agents and officers, two of whom are supervisors, brought prostitutes back to their hotel rooms in Cartegena last week as they prepared for the president’s visit.
The Pentagon said over the weekend that five military personnel may have also been involved.
The Secret Service immediately placed the officers and supervisors on administrative leave and replaced them with other officers, the agency has said.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that his panel would not just look at the incident but the agency as a whole, to make sure it is adequately protecting those in its charge, including the president.
“The question is, is the whole organization in need of some soul searching, some changes, before the president, the vice president, members of the Cabinet are in danger?” he said.
Issa said the agents involved could have compromised themselves by making them subject to blackmail or other forms of coercion that could have endangered national security.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, R-N.Y., said he panel – which provides oversight of the Secret Service – would also be looking into the allegations.
Officials have said Obama was never in any danger.
King told The Wall Street Journal that the allegations surfaced after one of the prostitutes refused to leave an agent’s room until she was paid.
She stayed in the room past 7 a.m., in violation of hotel policy, prompting the hotel manager to go to the room, said King, who added that he was briefed on the allegations by the agency.
The agency would not open the door, however, which prompted the manager to call the police.
Once there, the woman told police she would not leave until she was paid. The agent, who was not identified, denied owing her the money but paid her anyway, King said.
Cartagena police filed a report to the U.S. Embassy because the situation involved a foreign national, said King. That report prompted a further investigation.
© 2012 Newsroom America.