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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora