Washington: A probe by a US federal watchdog into the ‘Secret Service prostitution scandal’ in Colombia earlier this year, has revealed that six women, who met with US Secret Service employees in Cartagena, were paid for sex, and other US Defense Department and White House staff might also be involved in the incident.
Charles K. Edwards, acting inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, shared initial findings of his months-long investigation with the US Congress, and said that he is in the final stages of the investigation.
According to the Washington Post, in a letter to Senate committees, Edwards said that 13 agency staffers “had personal encounters” with women at two Cartagena hotels and a private residence after meeting them at nightclubs in mid-April.
Three of the women left without asking for money, five asked for money and were paid, four were refused payment and one woman was paid only after she summoned a Colombian police officer and was later paid by another Secret Service employee, the letter stated.
While much of the attention in the case is focused on the actions of Secret Service personnel, multiple law enforcement and Congressional sources have claimed that investigators also discovered that two White House advance team members had also checked in prostitutes as overnight guests at the Cartagena hotel.
However, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, earlier in April, insisted there was no indication of any White House advance team members being involved in the prostitution scandal.
The dispute that unfolded in the early hours of April 12 exposed the misconduct of the Secret Service agents and set off one of the most embarrassing episodes in Secret Service history, just hours before President Obama arrived in Cartagena for the Summit of the Americas, the paper said.
Following the incident, eight Secret Service employees, including two senior supervisors, eventually lost their jobs; three were later cleared of serious misconduct; and at least two are fighting to be reinstated, it added.