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US Defence Secretary: 'Frankly, my biggest concern is the issue of security'

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has been speaking to reporters about the Colombia prostitution scandal involving Secret Service agents and military personnel.

He said:

We have suspended the security clearances of individuals there, pending results of this investigation.

Frankly, my biggest concern is the issue of security and what could possibly have been jeopardized by virtue of this kind of behaviour.

We expect our people wherever they are to abide by the highest standards of conduct.

I will obviously, if asked by the people (in Colombia), give them an update on the investigation. But at this point, I'm still awaiting the results of that.

Pentagon suspends security clearances over Colombia scandal

The Pentagon has suspended security clearances of military personnel implicated in the Colombia prostitution scandal, pending the results of the investigation, Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has said.

US Secret Service and military personnel allegedly took as many as 21 women back to their hotel, ahead of President Barack Obama's trip to the seaside city of Cartagena to attend the Summit of the Americas.

They were discovered when one woman complained about money, leading to the involvement of the local police.

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Obama has 'confidence' in Secret Service chief

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.

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US military 'embarrassed' by alleged prostitution 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.

President Obama's Colombia mission goes on despite scandal

were in Colombia for the Americas Summit Credit: Reuters

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."

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