Before traveling to Columbia and partying with local prostitutes in May 2012, U.S. Secret Service agents sent emails like, “Cash for dem hoes — check,” according to troubling details in a new congressional report on the elite law enforcement agency’s security breaches and ethical failures.
Agents also left sensitive government documents unprotected in their Columbia hotel rooms, contradicting previous congressional testimony from the former Secret Service director.
The Secret Service has been under fire since 2013 over repeated failures, including allowing an armed intruder jump the White House fence and storm into the East Room, allowing President Barack Obama to ride in an elevator with a criminal security guard at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, and drinking before crashing a government car into the White House barrier.
But the latest details from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform add more unsettling layers to the service’s failures.
Emails between Secret Service agents show they planned on getting drunk and sleeping with foreign prostitutes on their 2012 work trip to Cartagena, Columbia, and nobody tried to stop them.
“See logistics below,” a senior agent said in an April 9, 2012 email forwarded to 54 USSS recipients. “Our motto for this trip is una mas cerveza por favor.” That means “one more beer please” in Spanish.
“Swagg cologne-check/Pimp gear-check/ Swagg sunglasses-check/Cash fo dem hoes-check,” one special agent wrote in an email to another special agent April 10, 2012. Later in that email thread, the first special agent replied to the second special agent, “Plenty of magnums … double check!”
Agents also left sensitive government documents unprotected in their Cartagena rooms, the investigation revealed, contradicting congressional testimony from then-USSS Director Mark Sullivan. Sullivan claimed agents properly protected all government belongings.
The Secret Service’s ranks have fallen from 6,367 full-time employees in September 2014, to 6,315 one year later, something the report attributes to low morale.
HOGR Chairman Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, said the Secret Service has to raise its standards.
“This report reveals that the Secret Service is in crisis,” Chaffetz said in a news release. “Morale is down, attrition is up, misconduct continues, and security breaches persist. Yet its mission inexplicably continues to expand beyond the zero-fail mission to protect the president. We are now three directors in from the shocking misconduct in Cartagena and the agency is still broken. Strong leadership from the top is required to fix the systemic mismanagement within the agency and to restore it to its former prestige.”
HOGR Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland, expressed similar concerns.
“I care deeply about the safety of the president, his family, and all of the other individuals under Secret Service protection, and I also care deeply about this agency and its dedicated employees, who are among the most elite law enforcement personnel in the world,” Cummings said in a news release.
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