Tags: White House | prostitution scandal | Colombia | president | secret service

White House Allegedly Concealed Ties to Colombian Prostitution Scandal

By    |   Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 08:05 AM

The White House knew but refused to acknowledge that a member of the president's staff had been involved in the Colombian prostitution scandal that saw dozens of Secret Service agents and military personnel punished or fired in 2012, The Washington Post reported.

The Obama administration had repeatedly denied at the time that anyone at the White House was involved, but new documents reveal that senior aides were told by the Secret Service that a prostitute stayed overnight in the Cartagena hotel room of a member of the presidential advance team, Jonathan Dach.

According to the Post's analysis of government documents along with interviews, the Secret Service had provided the White House with a wide range of evidence against Dach.

It included hotel records, interviews of all advance team members, testimony from executives at the hotel, and hotel logs indicating the prostitute was registered to the aide's room overnight, along with her photo ID.

Nevertheless, top officials at the White House, including then-White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, questioned the staff member but concluded there was no wrongdoing.

Then-White House press secretary Jay Carney also insisted "there have been no specific, credible allegations of misconduct by anyone on the White House advance team or the White House staff."

There is evidence to suggest, however, that some in the administration went to great lengths to ensure the White House was not part of the formal investigation and the resulting report to Congress.

"We were directed at the time ... to delay the report of the investigation until after the 2012 election," David Nieland, the lead investigator on the case for the Department of Homeland Security, told Senate staffers, according to three people with knowledge of his statement, the Post reported.

Nieland also said that his superiors told him "to withhold and alter certain information in the report of investigation because it was potentially embarrassing to the administration."

In response to the Post's report Wednesday, White House spokesman Eric Schultz denied that anyone in the White House interfered with the investigation.

"As was reported more than two years ago, the White House conducted an internal review that did not identify any inappropriate behavior on the part of the White House advance team," Schultz said, according to the Post.

It still remains unclear whether Dach, who currently works as a policy adviser in the administration, was involved in the prostitution scandal. He continues to deny hiring a prostitute or bringing anyone to his hotel room, the Post reported.

"The underlying allegations about any inappropriate conduct by Jonathan Dach in Cartagena are utterly and completely false," Dach attorney Richard Sauber told the Post. "In addition, neither he nor anyone acting on his behalf ever contacted the DHS IG's [inspector general's] office about its report."

At the time of the investigation, the issue of Dach's possible involvement caused rifts and infighting in the inspector general's office. Those who advocated pursuing his involvement were put on administrative leave as punishment, according to the Post.

Meanwhile, former and current Secret Service agents continue to be angry at the White House's denials and decision not to conduct a full investigation while members of the agency were implicated and punished for their actions.

They were treated "radically differently by different parts of the same executive branch," Larry Berger, a lawyer who represented a number of the agents, told the Post.

Dach was a volunteer who helped coordinate drivers for the White House travel office. He was not privy to the highly sensitive information about the president handled by Secret Service staff, but those in his position are told that their conduct reflects on the president, the Post reported.

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The White House knew but refused to acknowledge that a member of the president's staff had been involved in the Colombian prostitution scandal that saw dozens of Secret Service agents and military personnel punished or fired in 2012, The Washington Post reported.
White House, prostitution scandal, Colombia, president, secret service
607
2014-05-09
Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 08:05 AM
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