White House personnel may have been involved in the Colombian prostitution scandal, the top federal investigator on the case said for the first time on Friday.
The disclosure by Charles Edwards, the acting inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, comes despite Obama administration claims to the contrary, Fox News
Edwards wrote in a letter to Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins that his office's inquiry into the April incident found “a hotel registry that suggests that two (non-Secret Service) personnel may have had contact with foreign nationals.”
The letter came two days after a FoxNews.com report revealed possible White House advance team involvement.
One employee, Edwards wrote, was a Defense Department worker "affiliated" with the White House Communication Agency, Fox reports.
The other, he said, "may have been" affiliated with the White House advance team.
The White House denied the claims on Friday.
Edwards also wrote to Collins that his office did not pursue those leads "because they are not DHS personnel," Fox reports.
The investigator wrote that while the allegations that went beyond the Secret Service "were outside the scope of the investigation, one of these employees is a Department of Defense employee affiliated with the White House Communication Agency and the other, whose employment status was not verified, may have been affiliated with the White House advance operation," Fox reports.
The statement, however, challenges claims made in April by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney about possible involvement of the White House team.
Carney said then that the White House counsel's office conducted a review and "came to the conclusion that there's no indication that any member of the White House advance team engaged in any improper conduct or behavior."
The Obama administration stood by its original claims in reaction to Edwards' statements.
A senior administration official said the member of the advance team was a "volunteer," versus a White House employee, Fox reports. The official also said the volunteer was wrongly implicated based on inaccurate hotel records.
White House spokesman Eric Schultz backed up Carney in standing by the original White House review.
"As we've said for months, the White House review concluded that no members of the White House advance team, either staff or volunteers, engaged in inappropriate conduct during the president's trip to Colombia," Schultz said.
But Collins said on Friday that she was "troubled" by the new revelations, citing Carney's original claim.
"On April 23, the White House spokesman said that the White House counsel's office had conducted its own review and concluded there had been no credible allegations of misconduct by anyone on the White House advance team or the White House staff,” Collins said in a statement to Fox. “The White House explicitly denied any involvement after its own investigation, and now the IG is questioning that account.
“This raises concerns about the credibility of the White House investigation," she said in the statement.
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