- (Photo: REUTERS/Jason Reed)
Up to 12 members of the United States secret service face allegations that could involve procuring the service of prostitutes while on an international summit in Columbia.
As President Barack Obama arrived on Friday to attend to official business in Cartagena, site of the Summit of the Americas, it was revealed that members of his secret service had been involved in a potential scandal. The incident now threatens to impede with Obama's economic and trade agenda.
While charges on prostitution have yet to be confirmed, Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan did state that members of the Secret Service faced allegations due to behavioral "misconduct" while at the summit. The White House has so far declined to comment on the incident.
According to Donovan, the allegations were brought on before President Obama arrived on Friday and would not affect security plans during the president's trip.
While the Secret Security failed to release the number of those involved, an undisclosed U.S. official stated potentially 12 members could have been involved. President Obama expressed that he was disappointed by the allegations.
"We're representing the United States ... when we travel to other countries," Obama said stating that members of his entourage should be held to "the highest standards" because "we're here on behalf of our people."
AM News reported that the scandal became known after police arrived following the report of one prostitute who complained that she had not been paid. Rep. Darrell Issa said in Washington that he would conduct "an over-the-shoulder investigation."
"This kind of a breach is a breach in the federal workforce's most elite protective unit, and they don't just protect the president, of course - they protect the Cabinet members, the vice president, the first family, candidates," Issa said. "So when you look at this, you realize if you can have this kind of breakdown, one that could lead to blackmail … we've got to ask, where are the systems in place to prevent this in the future?"