Politics

Obama: "Rigorous" Investigation into Secret Service Prostitution Scandal

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

President Obama has made his first statements regarding the prostitution scandal that is rocking his security detail in Colombia.

"If it turns out that some of the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed, then of course I'll be angry," Obama said at a news conference in Cartagena on Sunday.

The president promised a "thorough and rigorous" investigation into claims that 11 Secret Service agents and five military members were partying with prostitutes at a hotel late last week. Reports say trouble began over payments to the women, which alerted authorities to the agents and their activities.

The agents were sent back to Washington to be interviewed. They were placed on administrative leave and could face reprimands or be fired.

The military members were restricted to their quarters and will return to the U.S. to be questioned when Obama's trip is over.

Prostitution is legal in Colombia's so-called "tolerance zones," so the investigation will not center in whether any laws were broken. Rather, it will be about whether any protocols were violated.

"We're representing the people of the United States, and when we travel to another country I expect us to observe the highest standards because we're not just representing ourselves," Obama said.

It is unlikely that the president's security itself was ever in any danger, but the agents left themselves vulnerable.

"If all this happened, this compromised the agents themselves," House Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Peter King told ABC News. "It left [the agents] open to be threatened and blackmailed in the future. ... They could have been threatened or blackmailed secondly to bring prostitutes in an area that's a secured zone. It just violates a basic code of conduct."