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President Barack Obama surrounded by Secret Service agents walks away after a visit to the Port of Tampa on April 13, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. The president, on his way to the Summit of the Americas in Colombia, used the visit to emphasize small business trade with countries in Latin America.
Sex, escorts, an exotic locale, a squabble over money. As the investigation broadens into allegations that 11 Secret Service agents in Cartagena, Colombia brought back prostitutes to their hotel ahead of a visit by President Barack Obama, questions swirl around the inclusive, potentially macho culture of agents.
Three people have so far lost their jobs, within the scandal’s rippling fallout. One supervisor was allowed to retire, another will be fired for cause, and a third non-supervisor employee has resigned, the Secret Service said Wednesday. About 10 military service members and as many as 20 women were also involved. The identities of the 11 agents have not been disclosed, but they have been assumed by many to be all men.
Experts such as journalist and author Jeffrey Robinson, who co-wrote “Standing Next to History: An Agent’s Life Inside the Secret Service” with a former assistant special agent, has touched on the notion of traditional “wheels up” parties with agents after an event is completed. With ties to current and former agents, Robinson has mentioned that those in the Secret Service he knows are furious over the controversy.
Does this Secret Service scandal change your perception of this elite group that protects and travels with the President? What does it say about the culture of agents? Should more women be hired, and would that shift behavior?
Ronald Kessler, chief Washington correspondent for Newsmax.com, author of “In The President’s Secret Service: Behind The Scenes With Agents In The Line Of Fire And The Presidents They Protect”
Jeffrey Robinson, co-author of “Standing Next To History: An Agent’s Life Inside The Secret Service”