This can’t be good for public diplomacy.
According to the Post, up to 12 Secret Service agents left Colombia late this week after allegations that one may have been involved with a prostitute. The agents were in the Caribbean city of Cartagena preparing for the Summit of Americas, a regional gathering that President Obama is attending this weekend:
Edwin Donovan, an agency spokesman, said that an unspecified number of agents have been recalled and replaced with others, stressing that Obama’s security has not been compromised because of the change. Obama arrived in Cartagena on Friday afternoon for this weekend’s Summit of the Americas, a gathering of 33 of the hemisphere’s 35 leaders to discuss economic policy and trade.
Donovan declined to disclose details about the nature of the alleged misconduct. But Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, said the accusations relate to at least one agent having involvement with prostitutes in Cartagena.
Prostitution is legal in Colombia in designated “tolerance zones,” but it’s not tolerated by the Secret Service. According to the AP, a hotel employee also reported seeing the agents drinking heavily during their stay in Cartagena ahead of Obama’s arrival.