More firings expected in Secret Service scandal

By ALICIA CALDWELL, The Associated Press
Posted April 22, 2012, at 6:52 p.m.

WASHINGTON — The chairman of a House committee investigating an alleged Secret Service prostitution scandal predicted more firings as key lawmakers and a top adviser to President Barack Obama expressed confidence Sunday that the agency will effectively deal with the incident.

“Every possible lead is being examined,” said Rep. Peter King, who heads the House Homeland Security Committee. King, R-N.Y., said he expected that in the “near future, several other” members of the Secret Service will leave.

“What they were thinking is beyond me,” King told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

So far, the scandal includes 12 Secret Service employees and 11 military members.

Six of the Secret Service members have lost their jobs. One has been cleared and five remain on administrative leave. The main incident occurred shortly before Obama arrived for a meeting of regional presidents last weekend.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Sunday the scandal highlights a lack of women in the presidential security ranks.

Collins, the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said on the ABC news program “This Week with George Stephanopolous” that she can’t help but wonder that if there had been more women on that detail in Colombia, if the questionable behavior would have ever happened.

Collins also said she’s been told there’s no evidence of underage women involved in the scandal. But she said that’s beside the larger point: “What are Secret Service agents doing bringing unknown foreign nationals to their rooms, regardless of their age?”

A Secret Service official confirmed Sunday that one of the 12 implicated in the scandal was staying at a different hotel than the others.

He was staying at the Hilton, where Obama eventually would stay, said the official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. The agent is being investigated for improprieties in a separate incident that may have happened on April 9, days before the president arrived and while the hotel was still open to the general public.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, also mentioned the 12th agent under investigation in an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“Now we don’t know at this point what that 12th agent is being charged with and why he’s been put on administrative leave. But now you’re into the hotel where the president of the United States was going to stay. And it just gets more troubling,” Lieberman said.

Lieberman told Fox News Sunday there is “no evidence that information was compromised” in the incidents. Those involved “were not acting like Secret Service agents. They were acting like a bunch of college students away on a spring student weekend,” Lieberman said.

King, Lieberman and other leaders of congressional committees examining the scandal made the rounds on Sunday news shows. Generally, they said the scandal was being closely scrutinized on Capitol Hill and voiced support for Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan’s handling of the matter.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/04/22/politics/more-firings-expected-in-secret-service-scandal/ printed on November 25, 2014