A Colombian diplomat in the U.S. has said that President Barack Obama should apologize for the recent secret service sex scandal because it "ruined the reputation of Cartagena" where prostitution is legal.
The Daily Mail reports that Gabriel Silva, in an interview with the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, criticized handling of the scandal by the American government. Silva, who decried the media's focus on Cartagena's sex industry, said: "It is necessary, and I want to hear it from the White House. A more clear expression of remorse is required to protect the reputation of Cartagena."
NY Daily News reports that Silva is upset about the portrayal of Cartagena and what he describes as the "superficial, sensationalist" U.S. media coverage that focused on the city's sex industry.
NY Daily News points out, however, that President Juan Manuel Santos seemed to have no "beef" with President Obama when, at a joint news conference during a summit in Cartagena, Obama spoke about the scandal that was at that time just unfolding. Obama had said: “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. 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.”
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, also condemned the actions of the agents as "inexcusable." NY Daily News reports that the deputy director of the Secret Service apologized to Colombia and Cartagena.
According to Digital Journal, a report on similar misconduct by Secret Service agents in El Salvador in March 2011 has been presented to Congress. Digital Journal says the report detailed "witness account of how Secret Service agents and U.S. military specialists in San Salvador, before Obama's arrival, spent three nights in a row at a strip club drinking heavily with most of them paying for access to VIP section where they enjoyed sexual services. The report said the owner of the club admitted that his club 'routinely takes care of high-ranking employees of the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador as well as visiting agents from the FBI and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.'"
NY Daily News reports that the Secret Service, in a memo sent to Congress, said it was taking the “allegations of misconduct seriously, and will thoroughly look into this matter."