Former White House adviser Karl Rove defended Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan for his handling of the growing scandal involving agents during a recent presidential trip to Colombia.
Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Rove said that Sullivan had “moved aggressively and appropriately” in investigating the incident, and that he was an “enormously able individual.”
“I think at the end of the day, when all of this is known and when all of it has been handled, that the people who will be most disgusted and most angry and most upset about this are the members, the men and women of the Secret Service,” Rove said. Rove said he believed agency’s scandal was an isolated problem and not widespread.
Sullivan was a career Secret Service employee who was appointed director of the president’s protective agency by George W. Bush in 2006. He has been praised by both Republicans and Democrats for his stewardship of the agency and his aggressive handling of the Colombian scandal.
Rep. Peter King, chair of the House Homeland Security committee has also praised Sullivan, as has Republican presumptive nominee Mitt Romney. President Obama has expressed full confidence in Sullivan.
Eleven Secret Service agents were originally linked to a night of partying in the coastal city of Cartagena on April 11-12. Six have left the agency over the scandal, which embarrassed the United States and overshadowed Obama's participation in the Summit of Americas meeting.
A 12th employee was reportedly implicated in the probe and another was cleared of "serious misconduct" in Cartagena but will face administrative action.
“This is not up to the standards that they, themselves, hold out for their own agency and for their own mission,” Rove said of the Secret Service. “It's a terrible blot on their record. And I suspect the vast majority of the Secret Service personnel feel that way.”
Rove said foreign trips for the president represent one of the “more dangerous moments” in an administration.
“They're human beings,” Rove said, speaking of the agents he's known. “After a mission, after a trip is over, have a beer or something. But not on duty. When you are on a foreign trip, you are on duty all the time. There are no off-hours.
“You may have a time that you're not on active watch, but you are on duty 24 hours a day when you're on a foreign trip."
Rove also said the scandal “creates a problem for President Obama. It adds to the sense that Washington is broken.”
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