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3 Secret Service agents sent home from Amsterdam

By Josh Lederman

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 06:26 a.m. HST, Mar 26, 2014

WASHINGTON » The Secret Service sent three agents home from the Netherlands just before President Barack Obama's arrival after one agent was found inebriated in an Amsterdam hotel, the Secret Service said Tuesday.

The three agents were benched for "disciplinary reasons," said Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan, declining to elaborate. Donovan said the incident was prior to Obama's arrival Monday in the country and did not compromise the president's security in any way.

Still, the incident represents a fresh blemish for an elite agency struggling to rehabilitate its reputation following a high-profile prostitution scandal and other allegations of misconduct. An inspector general's report in December concluded there was no evidence of widespread misconduct, in line with the service's longstanding assertion that it has no tolerance for inappropriate behavior.

The agents sent home from Amsterdam were placed on administrative leave, according to The Washington Post, which first reported the disciplinary action. The newspaper said all three were on the Counter Assault Team, which defends the president if he comes under attack, and that one agent was a "team leader."

One agent was discovered highly intoxicated by staff at a hotel, who reported it to the U.S. Embassy, said a person familiar with the situation, who wasn't authorized to discuss the alleged behavior on the record and demanded anonymity. The other two agents were deemed complicit because they didn't intervene despite being in a position to assist the drunken agent or tamp down his behavior, the person said.

"It wasn't like a big, crazy party," the person said.

Obama arrived in the Netherlands early Monday on the first leg of a weeklong, four-country trip. He departed for Brussels on Tuesday night, and there were no known security issues during his stay in the Netherlands.

Before Obama travels anywhere abroad, a slew of Secret Service and other government officials are dispatched in advance to prepare the intense security operation needed to protect the president in unfamiliar territory. Typically, counter assault teams travel with the president in his motorcade and if he came under fire, the team would be called upon to engage any attackers while the president was hustled to safety.

Stricter rules implemented in the wake of the prostitution scandal in Colombia bar agents from drinking alcohol within 10 hours of starting a shift. It's unclear whether the other two agents were drinking heavily or what time any of them would have been expected to show up for a shift.

The Secret Service's reputation for rowdy, fraternity-like behavior snowballed in April 2012 in the run-up to another Obama foreign trip, this one in the Caribbean resort city of Cartagena, Colombia, where 13 agents and officers were accused of carousing with female foreign nationals at a hotel where they were staying before Obama's arrival.

After a night of heavy partying in bars and clubs, the employees brought women, including prostitutes, back to their hotel. Six of the employees eventually resigned or retired, while others had their security clearances revoked or were removed from duty.

Seeking to turn a page on that chapter in the service's famed history, Obama last year named veteran Secret Service agent Julia Pierson as the agency's first female director and signaled his desire to change the culture at the male-dominated service. Less than a year later, two additional officers were removed from Obama's detail following allegations of sexually-related misconduct that came to light after an incident at an upscale hotel next to the White House.

A 145-page report issued late last year by the Homeland Security Department inspector general determined there was no evidence of widespread misconduct within the Secret Service. Following the South American prostitution scandal, the agency put new procedures in place, including a ban on bringing foreign nationals to hotel rooms where agents and officers are staying.

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whs1966 wrote:
Sounds a bit like the Deedy case: Agents in towns prior to the president's arrival...drinking. They just don't understand--or care--that they are not on a party trip.
on March 25,2014 | 06:43PM
slink wrote:
Was listening to NPR a few days ago when a retired agent was asked if this type of behavior could be race-related; without hesitation he replied, "Of course." If there's any truth to that, we are in a very scary situation. Also, finally got around to watching The Butler. It wasn't until the Reagan years that the pressure was enough to have the black staff paid the same as the white staff? And we think we are so progressive....
on March 25,2014 | 07:05PM
Knowlege wrote:
what exactly are you implying?
on March 25,2014 | 09:02PM
EightOEight wrote:
You know what is being implied. But I might be wrong....after all, you misspelled your name.
on March 26,2014 | 07:40AM
residenttaxpayer wrote:
I guess good help is still hard to fine......
on March 25,2014 | 08:10PM
residenttaxpayer wrote:
still hard to find......
on March 25,2014 | 08:11PM
localguy wrote:
Clearly Secret Service supervisors are failing to hold their agents accountable for their actions. Then again, when the supervisors haven't got a clue what to do, the problem starts at the top. Solution is to prohibit any drinking, partying, any other type of questionable action during the Presidential visit. Current method of operation isn't making it. Agents and hold their party action until they get home.
on March 25,2014 | 10:18PM
st1d wrote:
there was a time that the honolulu police vice morals squad was a proud training ground for future secret service agents.

ah, . . . those were the days . . .

on March 25,2014 | 10:40PM
4212richard wrote:
Funny, it's never mentioned that a Secret Service Agent came to Honolulu and killed a local resident in a drunken rage.....do we not count? Of course, he still hasn't been convicted
on March 25,2014 | 11:43PM
turbolink wrote:
Deedy was State Department Security, not Secret Service.
on March 26,2014 | 07:32AM
HIE wrote:
Maybe because he wasn't a Secret Service Agent....
on March 26,2014 | 07:32AM
Carang_da_buggahz wrote:
I always hear about how Secret Service agents are "the Best of the Best". After recent scandals involving prostitutes and other moral indiscretions, a smart member would realize that they are now under the microscope. Apparently not. These idiots are increasingly proving to be an embarrassment to not only their profession but to this country, although I can't imagine that they can do any worse than obama already has.
on March 26,2014 | 07:48AM
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