King: Prostitutes were just that
Politico -- by MJ Lee
None of the 12 Colombian prostitutes being investigated in the Secret Service scandal were part of a drug or “terrorist organization,” Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told POLITICO Wednesday morning.
King’s committee, one of the several congressional panels looking into the Secret Service scandal that overshadowed President Barack Obama’s recent trip to Colombia, received a lengthy document late Tuesday from the Secret Service answering 50 questions about the incident that his committee recently submitted.
“It does not appear that these guys were targeted. [It wasn’t] a foreign organization attempting to seduce Secret Service agents,” King said as he explained some of the newest findings detailed in the document. “These guys went out to bars and that’s what they got. There’s no evidence that any of the women have any involvement with narco-terrorists or any type of terrorist organization. Basically, they’re prostitutes.”
According to the Republican congressman, 10 of the 12 women involved in the controversy have been interviewed so far, while a search is ongoing to track down the other two.
Also, nine of the 12 Secret Service agents embroiled in the scandal have taken polygraph tests, and all of them passed. One of the three others that refused to take the lie-detector exam was the agent who allegedly got into a scuffle with a prostitute over issues of payment and has already been dismissed.
King said Wednesday that evidence that the dozen prostitutes had no connection to drug or terrorist groups was one more data point to support that Obama’s security was not compromised during the foreign trip.
“All the evidence [shows] that no security was compromised. All Blackberries were accounted for, there were no sensitive documents in the rooms,” he said.
The document that the Secret Service gave to King’s committee late Tuesday, first reported on by The Washington Post — is currently classified as law enforcement sensitive and not available to the press or the public. The congressman said he hopes that the report can be declassified soon, but that he wouldn’t take any action that could “undercut” the ongoing probe. Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary declined Wednesday to comment on the document.
Meanwhile, investigators are currently in the process of getting translations of statements made by the dozen prostitutes that had contact with the Secret Service agents, and King cautioned that new information could come to light at any process in the probe as investigators continue to interview other aides who were in Cartagena.
“There’s still about 40, 50 that have to be interviewed,” he said. “It’s always possible that something new could happen.”
The House Oversight Committee also received a response from the Secret Service Tuesday night to its own set of questions about the Colombia scandal. Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said in a joint statement Wednesday that they “appreciate the Secret Service’s detailed responses” and that the committee will continue to monitor the probe.