Four Secret Service employees are contesting their dismissals for inappropriate conduct in Colombia last month, reports the Washington Post. The agents argue that the agency is making them scapegoats for behavior that the Secret Service has long tolerated, a charge that Director Mark Sullivan may address today before a Senate committee. He plans to say there was no breach of operational security.
Several agents say that what happened in Cartagena differ from initial media accounts describing a group outing of a dozen men in search of prostitutes. Instead, the men went to different bars and clubs and met women under a variety of circumstances, in some cases resulting in voluntary trysts that did not involve money. The scandal has damaged the Secret Service's reputation, and the fallout has spread to other federal agencies. A dozen members of the military also are accused of hiring prostitutes on the trip, and the Drug Enforcement Administration is looking into allegations, made by a Secret Service agent during the investigation, that DEA staffers brought prostitutes to their apartments in Cartagena.