April 18, 2012
Three Secret Service agents have been forced out of their positions as officials investigate the alleged hiring of prostitutes and other questionable behavior during a presidential visit to Colombia.
"Although the Secret Service's investigation into allegations of misconduct by its employees in Cartagena, Colombia, is in its early stages, and is still ongoing, three of the individuals involved will separate or are in the process of separating from the agency," said Paul S. Morrissey, the assistant director of the U.S. Secret Service Office of Government and Public Affairs, in a written statement.
One supervisory employee was allowed to retire and another was "proposed for removal for cause," the statement said. In addition, a non-supervisory employee resigned.
The employee proposed for removal has been given notice and will be allowed to fight the move, the Secret Service said.
Eight other Secret Service employees remain on administrative leave with suspended security clearances.
In addition, some Secret Service personnel are now under investigation for possible drug use.
ABC News has learned that Secret Service investigators are probing reports from a Cartagena, Colombia, hotel worker, who said he saw a line of white powder, which he believed to be cocaine, on a table in a Secret Service agent's room. The hotel worker told the New York Post he responded to clean up the room after there was a dispute between a Secret Service agent and a prostitute over payment.
"When I went upstairs, I walked into a messy room. The room was littered with two whiskey bottles -- and a line of white powder, I believed to be cocaine, was on top of a round glass table in the room," the staffer told the Post.
According to Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who was briefed by the Secret Service, the agency is taking the hotel worker's allegations seriously.
"This is one of the things the Secret Service is investigating," King told ABC News. "Agents are randomly tested for drugs. I know the director will take further action if more information on this becomes available."
The Secret Service declined to comment on the records, but sources familiar with the investigation say inspectors in Colombia have yet to be told that information directly. However, sources said the agency will follow up anyway and question agents who travelled to Colombia about possible drug use.
According the New York Post story, the hotel worker described a chaotic, morning-after scene in the hotel lobby, with the prostitute screaming in the lobby that she had not been paid.
The worker said, "The agent was supposed to pay her a [bar] fine on top of the pay rate for her sexual services, but he didn't."
The worker explained that visitors to area strip clubs are expected to pay a fee to the club, and then pay the woman directly for any sexual services.
As part of the prostitution probe, agents have agreed to polygraph tests. It wasn't clear whether drug questions would be included.
ABC News' Michael S. James contributed to this report.