May 23 - U.S. Secret Service head apologized for agents' misconduct regarding a scandal involving Colombian prostitutes. Deborah Gembara reports.
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~**NONE In the wake of a scandal involving the U.S. Secret Service and Colombian prostitutes, the head of the agency was on Capitol Hill. Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan told lawmakers the incident was is an isolated one. SOUNDBITE: Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan saying: "I am deeply disappointed and I apologize for the misconduct of these employees and the distraction that it has caused. Over the past several weeks, we have been under intense scrutiny as a result of this incident. To see the agency's integrity called into question has not been easy." Senator Susan Collins said there was no excuse for such recklessness. SOUNDBITE: Senator Susan Collins saying: "Their behavior was morally repugnant. The agents willingly made themselves potential targets, and could easily have been drugged, kidnapped or blackmailed." SOUNDBITE: Senator Joe Lieberman saying: "That reputation, a great reputation, was badly stained last month when 11 Secret Service employees engaged in a night of heavy drinking in Cartagena, Colombia, which ended with them taking foreign nationals, women, back to their hotel rooms." Sullivan told lawmakers that despite the misconduct, the president's security was never compromised. Four agents are expected to fight their dismissals, saying they were scapegoats for a permissive culture. The scandal is the biggest to hit the agency, and according to Lieberman, one that that may never have surface had one of the women not argued with an agent over money. Deborah Gembara, Reuters