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Secret Service Agents Pulled From Duty In Colombia

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
April 14, 2012

Secret Service agents have been sent home from Colombia for alleged misconduct. President Obama arrived in the country Friday for the two-day Summit of the Americas.

The agents have been replaced, and the Secret Service says its security plan for the summit has not been compromised, NPR’s Scott Horsley tells our Newscast unit.

The Washington Post first reported that a dozen agents had been recalled from their duties. Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, told the Post that the alleged misconduct related to at least one agent’s involvement with prostitutes.

The Associated Press spoke with Adler later, and though he said he had heard there were prostitution allegations, “he had no specific knowledge of any wrongdoing.”

Former Washington Post reporter and author Ronald Kessler told the Post that while soliciting prostitution is legal in certain parts of Colombia, the Secret Service considers it inappropriate.

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan tells the AP that the allegations were related to activity that preceded the president’s arrival.

Politico has more on the role of Secret Service agents:

“Whenever the president travels, a contingent of agents precedes him to map out routes, check venues and assure that Obama can be guarded appropriately. The ‘advance team’ can be composed of dozens of agents who perform all manner of roles, from IT specialists to threat and munitions detection.”

The summit, which includes more than 30 leaders, already laid out some challenges for Obama.

“The most delicate issues include the U.S. war on drugs and U.S. policy toward Cuba,” NPR’s Juan Forero tells the Newscast unit.

Forero reported on the debate about the drug war for All Things Considered Friday.

As the AP reports, the Secret Service recall could make things even more difficult:

“The incident threatened to overshadow Obama’s economic and trade agenda at the summit and embarrass the U.S.”

The White House had no comment for the AP. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

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