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Secret Service Director Testifies on Recent Scandal

Says matter "not a systemic issue"

Washington, DC
Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held an oversight hearing on the recent misconduct by Secret Service agents, entitled  "Secret Service on the Line: Restoring Trust and Confidence."

The hearing examined whether there were warning signals before nine Secret Service employees were fired and three others disciplined for involvement with prostitutes in Colombia and what the Service can do to regain public trust.

Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan made his first public comments about the Colombian prostitute scandal Wednesday and told Senate lawmakers that the scandal is "not a systemic issue."  Though, he later discussed the agency's self-investigation into the matter.

Acting Homeland Security Inspector General Charles Edwards also testified. The IG’s office is investigating whether or not the Secret Service rushed to judgment during its probe into the Colombia incident. So far, 12 Secret Service officers and supervisors as well as 12 military personnel have been investigated. Eight Secret Service members have lost their jobs.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday morning that several agents fired because of the incident have decided to sue the agency. They say the agency has long tolerated the type of behavior that led to their dismissals.

The incident was reported by the Washington Post on April 13, shortly after President Obama arrived in Colombia for the Summit of the Americas.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) chaired the hearing.

The Justice Department is now investigating reports of unrelated, but similar incidents of misconduct by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents in Colombia, based on information from the Secret Service investigation.

Updated: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 6:30pm (ET)

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