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Thursday, November 14, 2013

2 Secret Service agents investigated for alleged sexual misconduct

WASHINGTON - Two U.S. Secret Service officers are under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct and one has been been removed from President Obama's security detail, CBS News has confirmed.

The allegations, first reported by The Washington Post, recall previous scandals that have cast the service in an unsavory light.

The investigation stems from an incident during the spring at the Hay-Adams Hotel, an upscale hotel near the White House, involving a senior supervisor responsible for about two dozen agents in the presidential security detail. 

A source with knowledge of the case told CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett that Ignacio Zamora Jr. met the woman in the Hay-Adams bar. Zamora struck up a conversation with the woman, who was a guest at the hotel, and the two drank heavily before going to the woman's hotel room, the source said.

The woman invited Zamora in but became upset when she discovered he had a firearm, the source said. Zamora, to calm the situation, unloaded the firearm and attempted to stay with the woman. She told him to leave and he gathered up the loose ammunition, accidentally leaving behind one round.

When Zamora discovered he had left a bullet behind, he tried to go back to the room but the woman would not admit him. The source told Garrett that Zamora did not try to forcibly enter the room but he did draw the attention of hotel security. Zamora's bullet was found and the case reported. Zamora was reassigned from his elite role overseeing the presidential detail, the source said.

A second agent, Timothy Barraclough, is the subject of an internal review due to evidence he may have sent suggestive emails to a female co-worker, the source said. Barraclough has not been removed from the presidential detail and has not been subject to any disciplinary action, the source said.

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan did not comment on the allegations. The Post said that lawyers for Zamora, Barraclough and the female agent declined to comment.

The elite service's reputation was marred by a prostitution scandal last year during preparations for Mr. Obama's trip to Cartagena, Colombia. Thirteen agents and officers were implicated after an agent argued with a prostitute over payment in a hotel hallway.

Mr. Obama in March named veteran Secret Service agent Julia Pierson as the agency's first female director, signaling his desire to change the male-dominated, carousing culture at the service.

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