The security clearances of 11 of President Obama‘s secret service agents were pulled on April 16 as part of a prostitution scandal investigation. The agents were in Cartagena, Colombia last week to prepare advance security measures for the President’s attendance at the Summit of the Americas in that city. At least one agent was reportedly entertaining a prostitute in his room beyond the hotel’s curfew of 7:00 AM, and she complained to police that the man owed her money, which was then paid on the spot. All of the agents and some military personnel were sent home for inappropriate behavior.
Prostitution is illegal in Colombia, but is overlooked by police within designated tolerance zones. Many of the preliminary comments by White House officials focus on the possible breach of security and potential for blackmail that have been engendered with the agents’ behavior. While these in themselves are extremely serious issues, almost nothing is being said about the legal and moral impropriety of government staff supporting the international sex trades.