A dozen Secret Service agents providing security for President Obama at the summit in Colombia have been sent home following allegations of misconduct. According to sources, the allegations involved at least one of the agents consorting with prostitutes.
AP reports that Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan, would not confirm the allegation that at least one of the Secret Service agents was involved with prostitutes, but he confirmed that "allegations of misconduct" have been made against Secret Service personnel.
Daily Mail notes that Donovan did deny the allegation that the "misconduct" involved prostitutes in Cartagena, but confirmed the allegations were related to activity of the personnel before Obama arrived in Columbia on Friday night.
The Washington Post reports that Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officer's Association, said that allegations of misconduct involving prostitutes related to at least one of the agents.
The agents had been staying at Cartagena's Hotel Caribe, which is also hosting members of the White House staff and press corps for the summit. AP reports that one hotel employee who did not want to be identified for fear of losing his job said the agents arrived at the hotel about a week ago. He said they spent time drinking heavily.
Daily Mail reports that although prostitution is legal is some parts of Columbia, the Secret Service frowns at its agents being involved with prostitutes. The incident was an embarrassment to the U.S. and threatened to overshadow Obama's economic and trade agenda at the summit, AP reports.
The agents involved have been sent back home and replaced by other personnel. According to Donovan, the incident is being investigated by the Secret Service's Office of Professional Responsibility which handles the agency's internal affairs. Donovan said: "These personnel changes will not affect the comprehensive security plan that has been prepared in advance of the president's trip."
AP reports Obama attended a leaders' dinner Friday night and is expected to attend summit meetings with regional leaders during the weekend.