As US expands inquiry into agent scandal,names of two released

The official said the widening inquiry included a review of agency personnel who had rooms at the Hilton Cartagena,where Obama stayed,as well as the Hotel Caribe,where the 11 agents and several military officers implicated had rooms.

Written by New York Times | Washington | Published: April 20, 2012 1:49 am

The Secret Service’s investigation into alleged misconduct with prostitutes by agency personnel in advance of President Obama’s trip to Colombia has been expanded to determine if the misconduct was confined to the 11 employees who were first tied to the scandal,according to a senior American official.

“We have no reason to believe anything else happened,but we want to have a complete and thorough investigation to ensure this didn’t go any further,” said the official.

The official said the widening inquiry included a review of agency personnel who had rooms at the Hilton Cartagena,where Obama stayed,as well as the Hotel Caribe,where the 11 agents and several military officers implicated had rooms.

The official also confirmed the identities of two Secret Service supervisors involved who were dismissed on Thursday. Greg Stokes,who worked with a canine unit,was fired. David Chaney was allowed to retire.

Representative Peter T King,Republican of New York and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee,said people at the Secret Service had told him that “more agents are expected to be leaving.”

Meanwhile,in Colombia,a lawyer retained by the woman who got into a dispute with a Secret Service agent over how much he owed her said Thursday that she would cooperate with any official inquiries. The lawyer,Marlon Betancourt,said that he had not been contacted by the United States or the Colombian authorities.

The woman,who has left Cartagena,was also looking into taking legal action against Secret Service personnel and the American government because,she said,the agent acted aggressively toward her,yelling and using an expletive to describe her,according to Betancourt.

At least one of the 11 Secret Service employees under scrutiny has told investigators that he had not known that the woman he had spent the night with was a prostitute,according to another senior government official. The employee,whom the official did not identify,has offered to take a lie-detector test.

That account appeared to be bolstered by one of the women involved who said that while she had spent the night with one of the Secret Service employees in his room at the Hotel Caribe,they had not had sex and she had not been paid.

She also questioned news accounts that said a large number of Secret Service agents had taken women to their rooms,saying that when the dispute broke out,the other Americans were surprised. “They didn’t know,” she said. “That’s why I think this is unfair.”

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