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April 26, 2012

As Obama Tries To Bury Secret Service Scandal, It Grows

It’s always the cover-up that gets you.

The Obama administration looked Wednesday to minimize the Colombia prostitution scandal engulfing the Secret Service and the Defense Department as a few bad apples even as some lawmakers expressed new frustrations with the level of information they are getting.

“Ninety-nine percent of the men and women who work in the Secret Service are absolute professionals who do an extraordinary job protecting the president, protecting his family, protecting others,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday.

Obama himself told late-night TV show host Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday that “a couple of knuckleheads shouldn’t detract from what they do. What they were thinking, I don’t know. That’s why they’re not there anymore.”

Unfortunately for Barry, that appears not to be the case.

The Secret Service is investigating reports that agents were involved in a second prostitution scandal — this time in El Salvador — a day after Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told lawmakers her department believed the brewing scandal in Colombia to be an isolated incident.

Seattle television station KIRO-TV interviewed a government contractor in El Salvador who said that he worked with the Secret Service in advance of President Obama's trip there in March of last year.

The contractor said he, about a dozen agents and a handful of military residents went to a San Salvador strip club where they drank heavily. According to the contractor, some in the party paid for extra access to a "VIP section" where they received sexual favors.

The club’s owner confirms the story.

From a personal standpoint, I don’t care if these guys unwind with a bit of hearty partying during their off-duty hours. And while I’ve got more than a few moral qualms about prostitution, I’ve got a hard time making a legal case out of it if the transactions were legal where they occurred. But the problem here is the cover-up, with firings and discipline apparently happening because the story made the press, not because the events happened. Either that, or the supervision of the Secret Service is so lax that rampant misconduct is not even detected or is even condoned by supervisors. And that is a problem – and since it all broke on Barack Obama’s watch, he’s the one who automatically gets the blame – since the buck stops at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.





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