Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman says he is embarrassed by what occurred in Colombia as allegations surface that U.S. military personnel are also involved in the Secret Service scandal
"We let the boss down because nobody's talking about what went on in Colombia other than this incident." General Martin Dempsey is quoted as saying according to CBS. Dempsey's remarks come as reports surface that members of the President's Counter Assault Team are involved in the sex scandal that has rocked the Secret Service and led to a dozen agents being sent home from the President's Colombia trip.
Members of the Secret Service's Counter Assault Team are reportedly heavily armed and very well trained. Whereas the role of a Secret Service agent is to evacuate the President out of harms way the Counter Assault Team's job is to engage the attackers head-on. They usually maintain a low profile in the dark suburbans seen in the President's motorcade.
In his book In The President's Secret Service author Ronald Kessler (who broke the news on the scandal) claims that the Secret Service has cut down the size of Obama's Counter Assault Team for "cosmetic" reasons, apparently the administration doesn't want the agents who carry bulky equipment and weapons standing too close to the President in public. Kessler also alleges other corner cutting by the Secret Service, such as not using the most up to date weaponry, not screening individuals who attend Obama's speeches, and allowing the President's staff to interfere in his security.
CBS reported that the number of military personnel allegedly involved in the scandal has doubled to ten and that they include at least one soldier from every branch of the U.S. military. The soldiers who accompany the President on foreign trips, are stationed at the doors of the White House, and drive members of his staff around Washington D.C. are part of the White House Military Office which is overseen by George D. Mulligan Jr. who took over from the previous director after he approved of Air Force One flying over Manhattan in a photo-op.
The scandal actually began two days before Obama's trip to Colombia. Kessler reported for the Washington Post that a number of Secret Service agents, two of which are reportedly supervisors, procured at least two prostitutes, after refusing to pay an argument ensued. The Hotel Caribe which maintains a policy that guests' visitor's leave by 7 a.m. sent someone to check up on the agents. When they would not answer the door local police were called. Once the identity of the agents were ascertained the Secret Service and State Department was notified.
CBS and the Washington Post both reported that the military reviewed security camera footage to see how many soldiers were actually involved. "Whether these individuals were in Colombia or any country or in the United States, we expect them to abide by highest standard of behavior. And that's a requirement." CBS quoted Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as saying.
Kessler says he broke the story after a tip from a Secret Service agent who "like many current agents is convinced that the agency’s corner-cutting could lead to an assassination."