Obama backs Secret Service head after second sex scandal

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The White House said Friday that President Obama, faced with a second sex scandal in the Secret Service in less than two years, still has confidence in the first female director of his protective service.

“The president believes very strongly that Director [Julia] Pierson is the right person for the job and has great confidence in her leadership,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney. “The president has absolute confidence in the leadership at the Secret Service.”


SEE ALSO: Senator: Probe of Secret Service prostitution scandal raises doubts about IG’s independence


More than 18 months after a prostitution scandal in South America rocked the agency, new allegations have surfaced about sexual misconduct among agents. Two supervisory agents assigned to Mr. Obama’s protective detail were investigated for sending sexually suggestive emails to a female co-worker.

One supervisor, Ignacio Zamora Jr., has been reassigned. The agency reportedly started investigating Mr. Zamora last spring after employees at the upscale Hay-Adams Hotel near the White House notified the Secret Service that a bullet from Mr. Zamora’s firearm was found in a hotel room.

The latest allegations of misconduct come as an inspector general’s report into the Secret Service’s prostitution scandal at the ‘Summit of the Americas’ in Cartagena, Columbia, in 2012 is expected to be released soon. Eight Secret Service employees were forced out of their jobs in that episode amid reports that agents brought prostitutes to their hotel rooms in advance of the president’s trip to the conference.

Mark Sullivan, who was then director of the agency, apologized for the scandal. He retired earlier this year, and Mr. Obama tapped Ms. Pierson as the first female director of the service.

Mr. Carney said the president has full confidence in the Secret Service.

“The president believes deeply that the vast majority of the men and women who work for the U.S. Secret Service exemplify the highest standards of service and that they work day and night professionally to protect the president and presidents before him,” Mr. Carney said. “Issues that have arisen, including the visit to Colombia, and other issues that arise … the president is confident that they will be fully investigated and that action, where appropriate, will be taken.”

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