News

    US Secret Service Facing More Allegations of Sexual Misconduct

    A Secret Service agent stands near then-presidential candidate Barack Obama [background] at a rally in Norfolk, Virginia, October 2008 (file photo)
    A Secret Service agent stands near then-presidential candidate Barack Obama [background] at a rally in Norfolk, Virginia, October 2008 (file photo)

    The U.S. Secret Service says it is aware of reports that there were other times agents allegedly paid for sexual services while traveling abroad to protect the president.

    In a statement Thursday, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said the recent investigation in Colombia "has generated several news stories that contain allegations by mostly unnamed sources." He said any information brought to the agency's attention that can be assessed as credible will be followed up on in what he called "an appropriate manner."

    A total of eight Secret Service agents have lost their jobs because of last month's incident involving prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia. The alleged misconduct took place just days before President Barack Obama arrived for the Summit of the Americas.

    The latest allegations came in a report Wednesday by Seattle television station KIRO-TV. The report quotes an unnamed U.S. government "subcontractor" who claims to have joined Secret Service agents and U.S. military specialists at a strip club in El Salvador ahead of President Obama's trip there in March of last year.

    The subcontractor said members of the Secret Service paid for "sexual favors" in a VIP section of the club. He is also quoted as saying that at least two of the agents took escorts back to their hotel rooms, and claimed several agents bragged that they "did this all the time" and "not to worry about it."

    The report also quotes the owner of the San Salvador strip club as saying his club routinely takes care of high-ranking employees of the U.S. embassy in the capital, as well as agents from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

    U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano addressed the Colombia prostitution scandal Wednesday at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, calling the allegations "inexcusable." But she said the actions of a few would not be allowed to tarnish the proud legacy of the Secret Service.

    Appearing on a NBC television talk show Tuesday, Obama called the agents caught in the scandal "knuckleheads." But he also said they should not detract from what the Secret Service does. The president called the majority of the agents incredible guys, protecting him and his family, as well as U.S. officials all over the world.

    The Pentagon is also investigating 12 military members who were allegedly involved in the Cartagena incident.

    Prostitution is legal in Colombia, but off-limits for many U.S. government employees because of the possible security risks.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.