No ‘widespread’ misconduct in Secret Service hooker scandal - IG

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A year after a high-profile scandal where members of a U.S. Secret Service advance team for President Obama hired prostitutes while in Colombia, an internal investigation has found no widespread problems in the agency, stating that the bad behavior was limited to a few individuals.

“Although individual employees have engaged in misconduct or inappropriate behavior, we did not find evidence that misconduct is widespread in USSS,” said the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general’s office.

In a nearly 150-page report released Friday, the IG said that there is no culture of wrongdoing at the agency and that Secret Service leaders take appropriate disciplinary action when the situation arises.

“We found no evidence that [Secret Service] employees frequently engage in behaviors contrary to conduct standards or that could cause a security concern,” the IG said. “Although some employees engaged in certain misconduct during a foreign assignment in Cartagena, we did not discover evidence that similar misconduct is widespread throughout the Secret Service.”

The report comes the same week that the acting head of the IG, Charles Edwards, stepped down. Mr. Edwards was facing questioning from Congress over allegations that he was deliberately slowing the investigation into the Secret Service in an attempt to curry favor with DHS leadership.
In April 2012, Secret Service agents traveled to the city on Colombia’s northern coast to prepare for Mr. Obama’s visit to the Summit of the Americas. While there, 10 agents got drunk and solicited a prostitute. After the incident came to light, several of the agents were fired, and both the Secret Service and the IG launched investigations.

The IG conducted an agency-wide investigation, collecting information from thousands of personnel about any questionable actions they might have seen.

The watchdog group made 14 recommendations, including better clarification of the process for reporting misconduct and improving documentation of misconduct cases and investigations. The IG said the Secret Service has addressed nearly all of the concerns.

The agency has roughly 6,600 employees and deals with fewer than 100 misconduct cases each year, the IG said. They include relatively routine office things like showing up late for work, but the most common category of incidents was “neglect of duty,” which the IG defined as inattention, sleeping on the job, delays in carrying out orders, or disregard for rules governing arrests or searches and seizures.

However, the IG said that Secret Service personnel rarely engage in behavior that causes security concerns.

 

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