Secret Service Agents Fired After Sex Scandal Deny Wrongdoing
According to The Washington Post who interviewed multiple current and former agency employees, sexual encounters during official travel had been condoned under an unwritten law code that allows what happens on the road to stay there.
This time though, the "Secret Circus," a nickname to describe the secret service's hard partying during overseas assignments, was exposed and shut down by its own raucous behavior.
Upon arrival at Cartagena two days prior to the arrival of President Obama who they were there to provide extra security for, the agents had plenty of free time to explore the city. David Chaney, an affable Secret Service supervisor who has spent the last two decades at the agency, took a group of young agents to a local strip club. There, he paid to bring back a couple of the dancers to the agents' hotel room at the Hotel Caribe. Separately, Arthur Huntington and Joe Bongino, both members of the agency's elite counterassault team, went out to the 'Tu Candela Bar and Disco' where they met and paid Dania Suarez,a 24 year old prostitute $800 to spend the night with him, her girlfriend came along as well.
The next morning after the bacchanalian bash, Huntington refused to pay Suarez and kicked her and her friend out of his room. The former then went to the Colombian police who went on to contact the American Embassy which dispatched a Secret Service Official to the agents' hotel to investigate. Upon arrival, the official was met by an irate hotel manager who had a clipboard full of complaints and names.
Before the president's arrival, the implicated agents were removed from Cartagena and brought back to headquarters for further investigation and sanctioning. After the scandal made headlines worldwide, the agency updated its rules to specifically stipulate that agents must be sober within 10 hours of reporting for duty and that bringing foreign nationals to their hotel rooms was strictly prohibited.
The Times reports: on Wednesday, Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan apologized to the Congressional panel. “I am deeply disappointed and I apologize for the misconduct of these employees and the distraction that it has caused,” he said. Sullivan has maintained that at no point during the agents’ carousing was the president’s security compromised and explained in front of the panel that it was “just absurd” to believe that the agents’ activities were acceptable by Secret Service standards.
Out of the twelve agents implicated, only one was cleared after it was found that another agent had used his name to check in a woman at the hotel.