Secret Service agents had copies of President Obama's schedule in their hotel rooms while they were allegedly entertaining prostitutes in Colombia last week, sources have told MSNBC. The latest information about agent hijinks raises the disturbing issue of serious security breaches. "I can't help but think what if the women involved had been spies, what if they had been members of a drug cartel, what if they had planted equipment or eavesdropping devices?" said Senator Susan Collins of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Eleven agents suspected of hiring prostitutes were yanked from duty in Cartegena, where they were providing security for the Summit of the Americas, and were stripped of their security clearances, reports Reuters.
The Secret Service members involved include both elite special agents who protect the president and uniformed officers who provide security for buildings and logistical support. At least five military servicemen are now also being investigated for their role in the "carousing at the center of the probe," reports the Washington Post. The situation underlines a troubling culture among Secret Service agents, whose married members sometimes joke during travel: "Wheels up, rings off," notes the Post. "We are embarrassed," said General Martin Demsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The situation came to light when one of the prostitutes complained to local police that she hadn't been paid. The president has called for a through investigation.