A dozen US Secret Service agents sent to Colombia to provide security for President Barack Obama at an international summit have been relieved of duty over alleged misconduct. Sources said the misconduct involved prostitutes in Cartagena.
President Barack Obama has confidence in Secret Service director Mark Sullivan and believes he acted quickly to deal with a scandal in Colombia where agents were alleged to have engaged in misconduct involving prostitutes, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
He added that the incident was being investigated and declined to speculate about conclusions that could be reached as a result of that probe.
The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs has said that the military is 'embarrassed' by the alleged military involvement in the misconduct scandal in Colombia, stating that "we let the boss down".
Speaking in a news conference, chairman Martin Dempsey said the substance of the Summit of the Americas had been overshadowed by allegations of misconduct by members of the Secret Service and military, which the Colombian police said involved prostitutes.
A prostitution scandal involving US security personnel in Colombia is threatening to eclipse President Barack Obama's charm offensive to Latin America.
In a major embarrassment for the United States at the Summit of the Americas attended by more than 30 heads of state, 11 US Secret Service agents were sent home and five military servicemen grounded over "misconduct" allegations in a hotel.
A US lawmaker who heads a congressional committee that oversees the Secret Service told CNN the incident apparently involved 11 agents "and they did bring women back to their rooms."
A dozen US Secret Service agents sent to Colombia to provide security for President Barack Obama at an international summit have been relieved of duty over alleged misconduct.
A caller who said he had knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press the misconduct involved prostitutes in Cartagena, site of the Summit of the Americas. A Secret Service spokesman did not dispute that.
An unnamed US official put the number of agents sent home at 12 but the Secret Service did not disclose the number of personnel involved. The incident threatened to overshadow Mr Obama's economic and trade agenda at the summit. The White House had no comment but did not dispute the allegations.