Four Secret Service agents are fighting their dismissals in the wake of the Colombian prostitution scandal, claiming that their behavior was no different from that tolerated by the agency for years, according to The Washington Post
A total of 12 agents lost their jobs or were disciplined because of the incident, which took place shortly before President Barack Obama’s visit to Cartagena, Colombia on April 14.
But the Post reported late Tuesday that the four fired agents have told associates they were not part of a group outing to seek out prostitutes, as was widely reported. Instead, they say they met women on their own separately and that some of the sexual encounters did not involve money.
One of the agents, according to the Post, was a 29-year-old, single officer who resigned after he was threatened with firing. He told investigators in the case that he brought back two women to his hotel room, but did not realize they were prostitutes. He said he told them to leave when they asked for money.
Citing multiple interviews with former and current Secret Service employees, the Post also reported that sexual encounters during official travel by agents had been condoned before the Colombian incident “under an unwritten code that allows what happens on the road to stay there.”
The Post said the employees interviewed said conduct is tolerated as “part of the ‘Secret Circus’ — a mocking nickname that some employees use to describe what ensues when large numbers of agents and officers arrive in a city.”
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