President Barack Obama waves upon arrival to Cartagena, Colombia on Friday, hours before the scandal involving his Secret Service agents broke.
Most of the Secret Service agents embroiled in a prostitution scandal brought women back to their Colombia hotel rooms before President Obama arrived in town for an international summit, Rep. Pete King said Saturday.
As it turned out, the agents’ troubles were just beginning. Local cops were called to the hotel in Cartagena and, because the matter involved foreigners, a report was written up and sent to the U.S. Embassy, King said.
Embassy officials in turn notified the Secret Service, which immediately launched an investigation.
At least one supervisor was among the agents involved, King said. He was not certain exactly how many women were involved.
The scandal — a black eye for the United States’ reputation abroad — was revealed Friday just hours before President Obama arrived in Cartagena.
The 11 agents were part of an advance team assigned to secure a local hotel before the summit began, yet their attention apparently turned to taking advantage of Colombia’s policy of legal prostitution.
Five American service members were also accused of misconduct stemming from the scandalous incident at the hotel, according to the U.S. military.
Kessler, who was briefed on the investigation by his sources within the agency, told the Daily News Saturday that the spurned hooker told police about the lack of payment.
The 11 agents were immediately recalled to Washington.
“Their careers are over,” said Kessler.
“Number one, it is against basic ethics to go to a prostitute,” he continued. “Number two, it is incredibly embarrassing to the White House.”
“And number three,” he continued. “It could leave them open to blackmail and a possible assassination attempt.”
Obama still has “full confidence” in the Secret Service, according to White House spokesman Jay Carney, who declared late Saturday that the incident “has been more of a distraction for the press” than the President.
Kessler said two of the agents were supervisors who attempted to cover up the mortifying incident.
The agents were staying at the beachfront Hotel Caribe, which is also hosting the White House staff and the traveling press team.
The scandal threatened to overshadow President Obama’s visit to the important summit. He landed in Cartagena Friday night and attended a formal dinner with the other world leaders at Castillo San Felipe de Barajasajas, an historic Spanish fortress.
All of the agents are based in Washington, D.C., according to Kessler, author of “In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect.”