Issa – Secret Service incident likely not the first
The recent scandal that was exposed concerning at leats 12 Secret Service agents while in Colombia, with President Barack Obama, probably isn’t an isolated incident, and the agency should ensure it doesn’t happen again, a leading House Republican said Sunday.
Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of a House investigative panel, said he wasn’t certain whether Congress would hold hearings on the misconduct. But lawmakers will be looking “over the shoulder” of the Secret Service, he said, to make sure that the agency’s method for training and screening agents isn’t endangering the nation’s VIPs.
“Things like this don’t happen once if they didn’t happen before,” said Issa, who leads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Right now there are at least 11 Secret Service employees on administrative leave for misconduct and five service members assigned to work with the agency are confined to quarters amid allegations that a group of personnel partied with prostitutes before Obama arrived in Colombia for the weekend summit with Latin American leaders.
White House spokesman Jay Carney has dismissed suggestions that the incident had distracted the president.
“I think it’s been much more of a distraction for the press,” Carney said Saturday. “He’s here engaging in the business that he came here to do with the assembled leaders of the Americas.”
Issa said that lawmakers are trying to to confirm the precise number of U.S. personnel involved in the scandal. He said the number could be higher than initially thought. And his major concern is that any agent that behaves badly is open for blackmail attempts, and even risk the security of the president and nayone else under their protection.
“We have got to ask, `where are the systems in place to prevent this in the future?” Issa said. “It’s the reason that the investigation will not be about the 11 to 20 or more involved. It will be about how did this happen and how often has this happened before?”
He later added: “It’s not about whether the president was in danger this time. It’s whether or not you need to make changes so the American people can have confidence in all of their workforce.”
President Obama later today commented on the incident, saying that he will be “angry” if the reported allegations against the agents turn out to be true. He said Secret Service personnel, like the rest of any U.S. delegation abroad, must “observe the highest standards.”
“We’re here on behalf of our people and that means that we conduct ourselves with the utmost dignity and probity. And obviously what’s been reported doesn’t match up with those standards,” Obama said, on the closing day of his visit to Colombia.
He said he would wait to further comment until the investigation is over, and if they are true, he said of course he will be angry. And Rep Peter King a Republican agreed with Obama and added that he was pleased with the way the probe was being handled. King’s panel, though, is moving to look deeper into the incident. He told Fox News that he’s directed his staff to launch an “immediate investigation” — he said his panel will likely hold a hearing on the incident.
Tags: 12 Secret Service agents, chairman of a House investigative panel, Colombia, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, President Barack Obama, prostitute scandal, Rep Darrell Issa, White House spokesman Jay Carney
This entry was posted on Thursday, April 19th, 2012 at 6:13 pm and is filed under Crime & Punishment, In the News, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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