In the midst of an investigation into alleged misconduct by Secret Service agents and U.S. military members in Colombia, the head of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs said the White House should launch its own internal investigation into its advance staff on that same trip.
"The White House ought to be conducting its own internal investigation of White House personnel who were in Cartagena, just to make sure that none of them were involved in this kind of inappropriate behavior," Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., said on Fox News Sunday.
The expanding scandal has implicated 12 Secret Service agents and 10 U.S. military members in misconduct involving prostitutes while preparing for President Obama's trip to Cartagena, Colombia. All 12 of those agents had their security clearances revoked and, as of Friday, six had resigned, retired, or been fired.
Lieberman, who has been briefed on the investigation said that the agents' actions were troublesome because they ran counter to the ethic of the agency.
"From what we know of what was happening in Cartagena, they were not acting like Secret Service agents, they were acting like a bunch of college students away on spring weekend," he said, but later added that he still has confidence in Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan. Other lawmakers expressed similar support on Sunday.
However, the agents' behavior may also have been a security liability, Lieberman explained.
"It's more serious than just a frolic. History is full of cases where enemies have compromised people with security or intelligence positions with sex," he said.
Lieberman added: "If the Secret Service gets the reputation that when they're off-duty ... they're gonna be acting like a bunch of college kids on spring weekend, then people who are hostile to us, people who may actually want to attack the president of the United States will begin to take advantage of that vulnerability."
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