The U.S. Secret Service tightened restrictions on employees’ conduct in response to the scandal of agents consorting with prostitutes overseas while preparing security for presidential trips.
Under the rules announced today, agency workers will be prohibited from having non-U.S. nationals other than hotel staff or law-enforcement colleagues in their hotel rooms, said Ed Donovan, a Secret Service spokesman. Going to “non-reputable establishments” also is banned, he said.
“Consider your conduct through the lens of the past several weeks,” Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan said in a message sent to employees today.
The agency has come under scrutiny after 12 employees were accused of misconduct in Cartagena, Colombia, before a visit by President Barack Obama earlier this month. Nine of those employees are leaving the agency or are being forced out.
An agency official said yesterday the Secret Service is investigating the accuracy of a news report by KIRO television in Seattle saying agents paid for “sexual favors” in an El Salvador strip club and brought escorts to their hotel rooms prior to a visit there by Obama last year.
The new regulations require “intensified” briefings about personal safety issues and the country being visited, Donovan said. Employees will be allowed to drink alcohol only in “moderate” amounts in their off hours and not within 10 hours of reporting for duty, he said.
Agency employees will be expected to follow U.S. laws while overseas, Donovan said. The scandal in Colombia took place in a zone where prostitution is legal.
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