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3 more USSS agents lose jobs following scandal

Added: Tuesday, April 24th 2012 at 3:37pm by Arthur33445
Category: News & Issues

CBS News has learned through sources the five remaining Secret Service agents involved in the Colombian sex scandal will be dealt with.

Chief White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell reported Tuesday that two agents will resign; two will be cleared of serious wrongdoing; and one will have his security clearance taken away.

Six other agents had already been dealt with for inapporpriate behavior involving alcohol and prostitutes on a presidential mission to Colombia earlier this month. Of those, four had resigned, one had retired, and one was being fired with cause, although he has the option to appeal the firing under federal rules.

The dozen Secret Service personnel and another 12 military enlistees preparing for President Obama's visit to Cartagena, Colombia, are being investigated for cavorting with prostitutes. The Defense Department has suspended the security clearances of all the military personnel involved and is conducting its own investigation. 

As many as 20 prostitutes were involved with the group, officials say; None are believed to be underage. http://vigrxplus.vacau.com

Meanwhile, Obama defended the Secret Service on Tuesday, saying the employees at the center of the prostitution scandal were "knuckleheads" not representative of the agency that protects his family in the glare of public life. But even as he spoke, officials on Capitol Hill were probing for any misconduct in the agency in the past decade and girding for the first public accounting of the incident that embarrassed the Obama administration.

For his part, Obama acknowledged Tuesday that the scandal was "a little distracting" and pressed for perspective.

"These guys are incredible. They protect me. They protect Michelle. They protect the girls. They protect our officials all around the world," the president said on NBC's "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon."

"A couple of knuckleheads shouldn't detract from what they do," Obama added. "What these guys were thinking, I don't know. That's why they're not there anymore."

The incident broke into public view when one of the prostitutes argued with a Secret Service agent over her payment in a hallway of the Caribe hotel. Local law enforcement intervened on the prostitute's behalf. Paid sex is legal in Cartagena, but violates codes of conduct for U.S. personnel who were working there.

The scandal was widely denounced by official Washington, but it's a delicate political matter in an election year with the presidency and congressional majorities at stake. All sides have praised Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan's swift action and thorough investigation, in part because he's spent significant time keeping key lawmakers in the loop. Pentagon officials too are investigating and are expected to brief Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin and ranking Republican John McCain on Wednesday.

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