Secret Service Hotel Investigation, Gas Prices, China and Missiles, Medicare (2012)





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Published on Jul 28, 2012


April 23, 2012

Obama reacted to the initial news saying that he would like to see a "rigorous" investigation and that "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. We are representing the people of the United States, and when we travel to another country, I expect us to observe the highest standards."[24] Obama later praised Secret Service agents as "incredible" and remarked at a taping of Jimmy Fallon's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on NBC on the campus of the University of North Carolina that: "They protect me, they protect our girls. A couple of knuckleheads shouldn't detract from what they do. What they were thinking, I don't know. That's why they're not there anymore."[39] Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said: "We let the boss down because nobody's talking about what went on in Colombia other than this incident. I can speak for myself and my fellow chiefs, we're embarrassed by what occurred in Colombia." He added that the head of the Southern Command General Douglas Fraser had started an investigation of the issue; he expressed his "disappoint[ment] by the entire incident and that this behaviour is not in keeping with the professional standards expected of members of the United States military." The chairman of the joint-chiefs-of-staff, General Martin Dempsey, also added that Obama had been let down as a result of this distraction. Senator Susan Collins, the highest ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee added: "I am having a call this evening with the director of the Secret Service, because I find this to be so appalling. I can't help but think what if the women involved had been spies, what if they had been members of a drug cartel, what if they had planted equipment or eavesdropping devices?"[24] She also said that Sullivan had told her that "the most important quality for a Secret Service officer is character. If the facts prove to be as reported on this, this is an incredible lack of character and breach of security, and potentially extremely serious." White House spokesman Jay Carney added that "Sullivan acted quickly in response to this incident, and he's overseeing an investigation as we speak. This incident needs to be investigated, and it is being investigated. We need to see what the investigation reveals. We're not going to speculate about the conclusions it might reach."[28] On 25 April, United States Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testified in a Senate hearing on the activities of the Homeland Security Department which oversees the Secret Service.[41][42] Napolitano stated during her hearing that the Secret Service's Office of Professional Responsibility had received no complaints of misconduct similar to what happened in Cartagena over the past two-and-a-half years,[43] expressed her confidence in Secret Service director Mark J. Sullivan, called the allegations against the implicated agents "inexcusable"[42] and promised a thorough investigation by saying: "We will leave no stone unturned."[42] Cartagena's residents were at first amused about the controversy, but the attitude later changed when it was perceived that the controversy cast a shadow on Colombia's image as a prosperous and peaceful country.[44][45]

One of the woman at the centre of the controversy, Dania Londono Suarez, later told the media about the events.[46][47][48] She said that she was introduced to the Secret Service agent with whom she spent the night by a friend at the bar. The agent then agreed to her services for US$800 at his hotel. The next morning she claimed the agent refused to pay her and instead told her to leave the room. With the help of two other Secret Service agents she said that she tried to resolve the matter, but her client refused to open the door. After approximately 10:00, she gave up and left the hotel before a police officer encouraged her to share the matter. Suarez told W Radio that three Secret Service agents evenutally paid her the money she was owed; however, she also added that if the she had known that the men were Secret Service agents she would not have told the police about the incident. She also said she did not see any confidential information in regards to Obama's visit.[46] Though she did say that she could have stolen sensitive material given the circumstance that the agent she spent the night with fell asleep.[49][50] She added: "If I was a terrorist I would have been able to do a thousand things."[50]

As a consequence of the incident, the Secret Service imposed new rules[51] for its employees.[52][53][54] The changes prohibit agents from visiting "non-reputable establishments"[52] or consuming alcohol ten hours before starting work. Additionally, they restrict who is allowed into hotel rooms.[52]


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