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Lieberman to call hearings on Secret Service sex scandal

April 22, 2012|By Katherine Skiba
  • U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) speaks with members of the media as Senate Democrats head to a weekly policy meeting at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) speaks with members of the media as Senate… (T.J. Kirkpatrick / Getty…)

WASHINGTON — In the aftermath of the Secret Service sex scandal in Colombia, Sen. Joe Lieberman said Sunday that the Homeland Security Committee he chairs would send questions to the agency this week and hold public hearings to explore questions such as whether the case was isolated and what rules govern the conduct of agents who are on assignment but off-duty.

“From what we know about what happened in Cartagena, they were not acting like Secret Service agents,” said Lieberman (I-Conn.). “They were acting like a bunch of college students away on spring weekend.”

Lieberman, speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” said history is full of cases in which enemies have compromised intelligence with sex, but there was no evidence in this case that privileged information had been leaked. 

Answering questions about possible past misbehavior by agents, Lieberman said he did not know if agents had previously acted inappropriately and said he could not confirm reports that traces of cocaine were found in one agent’s hotel room.

The senator also said the White House should be aggressively looking at whether any of its advance personnel was caught up in the scandal.

When it comes to protecting the president and ensuring the continuity of government, it is important to ask every possible question about what happened and what could be done to stop the behavior, Lieberman said.

He said he didn’t want agents spending a lot of time drinking bottles of vodka and carousing with women before they go on duty to protect the president. He noted that a rule now forbids agents from using intoxicants six hours before going on duty.

Six agents have been forced out of the agency in the wake of the scandal involving U.S. security and military personnel and Colombian prostitutes leading up to the president’s trip to Colombia earlier this month.

The top Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, told ABC's"This Week" that she that it was unlikely that the Secret Service scandal in Colombia was an isolated event.

"To me it defies belief that this was just an aberration," she said. "There were too many people involved. If it had been one or two, then I would say it was an aberration. But it included two supervisors. That is particularly shocking and appalling."

Collins, though, said she was confident that Mark Sullivan, who leads the agency, was doing a "no-holds-barred" investigation. She said he told her there was no evidence that under-aged women were involved, though noted that was beside the point.

"What are Secret Service personnel doing bringing unknown foreign nationals to their rooms, regardless of age?" she asked.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), appearing on "Meet the Press," said he expects more Secret Service agents to leave the agency in the next day or two.

Original source: Lieberman to call hearings on Secret Service sex scandal

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