WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is questioning the United States Secret Service about possible involvement of staff from the White House Communications Agency, and the White House Office of Advance in the Colombian prostitution scandal given the close working relationship among members of advance teams.
Grassley’s letter to Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan and Acting Inspector General Charles Edwards asks if the Secret Service, in the course of its investigation, is also looking into the possibility that staff from the White House Communications Agency and White House Office of Advance may also be involved in the scandal that has plagued the agency over the last week. Grassley’s questions come following a Senate Judiciary Committee staff briefing provided by the Secret Service. The Senate Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over the Secret Service.
A copy of the text of the letter to the Secret Service Director and the acting Inspector General is below. A signed copy of the letter can be found here.
April 20, 2012
Via Electronic Transmission
The Honorable Mark J. Sullivan Mr. Charles K. Edwards
Director Acting Inspector General
U.S. Secret Service U.S. Department of Homeland Security
950 H Street, NW 245 Murray Drive, SW Bldg. 410
Washington, D.C. 20223 Washington, D.C. 20528
Dear Director Sullivan and Acting Inspector General Edwards:
I write today regarding the ongoing investigation by the U.S. Secret Service Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (OIG) regarding the recent events surrounding the recall from Colombia of 11 agents and officers after allegations of misconduct arose. I appreciate the quick action taken by the Secret Service to immediately address these serious allegations by removing the agents and officers from the field, starting an investigation with OPR and the OIG, and by taking swift action to remove individuals involved from federal service. While these actions indicate the Secret Service is taking these allegations seriously, more work remains to investigate and uncover what occurred, hold those responsible accountable, and to put in place new policies and procedures to prevent future misconduct.
I appreciate the briefing provided to my staff on the Senate Committee on the Judiciary (Committee) today by representatives of both the Secret Service and OIG. The briefing included a number of useful details about the investigation thus far and about ongoing plans. In addition to matters discussed at the briefing, I have a number of additional questions that need to be addressed in writing. Accordingly, I ask that you provide responses to the following questions.
(1) In addition to the rooms held by Secret Service agents and officers at Hotel Caribe, were there agents or officers staying at other hotels in Cartagena, Colombia? If so, were records from those other hotels pulled? If not, will those records be pulled?
(2) It has been reported that in addition to the 11 agents and officers of the Secret Service there were members of the Department of Defense (DOD) involved as well. It has also been reported that those individuals are currently being reviewed by DOD. It is my understanding that ordinarily the Secret Service advance team works closely with the White House Communications Agency (WHCA) which is made up of military and civilians. Further, it is also my understanding that the Secret Service advance teams work closely with the White House Office of Advance and that sometimes the Secret Service may help reserve rooms for representatives from these offices.
a. Did the Secret Service reserve rooms at the Hotel Caribe or other hotels in Cartagena, Colombia for representatives of the WHCA or the White House Advance Team? If so, have records for overnight guests for those entities been pulled as part of the investigation conducted by OPR or OIG? If not, why not?
b. In the event neither OPR nor OIG are pulling the records of WHCA or White House Advance Team staffers, who would be reviewing these hotel records to ensure that sensitive information was not compromised by overnight guests from these entities?
c. Were there any rooms shared by Secret Service, WHCA, and the White House Office of Advance for operational or support matters? If so, were logs for those rooms checked to see if overnight guests were registered?
(3) Please provide an official copy of all written policies and procedures that agents and officers are provided and expected to adhere to while on foreign travel. This request should include all relevant regulations, rules, procedures, and applicable policy statements that inform agents and officers of restrictions and limitations on their conduct while on official business.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this request. The Committee has jurisdiction over the Secret Service and given the fluid nature of the ongoing investigation I would appreciate your response as soon as possible to address these important questions.
Charles E. Grassley