Zero tolerance for breaches by President’s security team
Secret Service and military personnel created a breach in the President’s safety by engaging prostitutes and a criminal element for self-gratification. They took their eyes off their mission and their behavior undermined the standard of their service.
When things like this happen, it exposes troubles in supervision. It exposes weaknesses in the values and integrity of the units involved.
Publicity from these breaches undermines the reputation of all Americans who must demand correction from top to bottom.
“Military embarrassed by Colombia scandal
By Robert Burns
Posted Apr 17, 2012 @ 05:00 AM
The top U.S. military officer said Monday the nation's military leadership is embarrassed by allegations of misconduct against at least 10 U.S. military members at a Colombia hotel on the eve of President Barack Obama's visit over the weekend.
"We let the boss down," Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Pentagon news conference. He said he regretted that the scandal, which also involved 11 Secret Service agents accused of cavorting with prostitutes at the hotel, diverted attention from Obama's diplomacy at a Latin America summit.
"I can speak for myself and my fellow chiefs: We're embarrassed by what occurred in Colombia, though we're not sure exactly what it is," Dempsey added.
Pentagon officials said earlier Monday that the number of military members involved in the scandal appears to be greater than the five originally cited. One senior defense official said that at least 10 military members may have been involved. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter is under investigation.
Pentagon press secretary George Little said that military members who are being investigated were assigned to support the Secret Service in preparation for Obama's official visit to Cartagena. He said they were not directly involved in presidential security.
The Secret Service sent 11 of its members, a group including agents and uniformed officers, home from Colombia amid allegations that they had hired prostitutes at a Cartagena hotel. The military members being investigated were staying at the same hotel, Little said.
The Secret Service personnel were placed on administrative leave and on Monday the Secret Service announced that the agency had also revoked thier security clearances. That means they cannot enter Secret Service facilities or facilities guarded by the Secret Service, said agency spokesman Brian Leary.
Though on leave, the agents and officers will continue to be paid.
Appearing with Dempsey at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said U.S. troops are expected to abide by "the highest standards" of behavior whether they are at home or abroad. He noted that a military investigation is under way and promised that if wrongdoing is confirmed, "these individuals will be held accountable."
Army Col. Scott Malcom, chief spokesman for U.S. Southern Command, which organized the military team that was assigned to support the Secret Service's mission in Cartagena, declined to say how many additional service members are under investigation. He also would not say which branch of the military they were from.”