Norton also noted that another woman, Susan Brita, alerted the inspector general about the General Services Administration's overspending for a 2010 conference in Las Vegas, and suggested promoting more women would help break up what in some cases can be an "old boys' network" within government.

"Reid and Brita are first class professionals, whose high ethical and moral standards are not a function of their gender," Norton said. "Still, their instincts to move so quickly were almost surely reinforced by the strength of character and fortitude it took for both to rise to high positions that are not typical for women as yet. If there was a good old boys' network, or a go along to get along culture, Reid and Brita were not a part of it.

"[T]he actions by the agents in Colombia are one more important reason for Director Sullivan and the Secret Service to go beyond the usual visits to colleges and other outreach that has clearly been ineffective in integrating the 90 percent male Secret Service agent workforce," she added. "Today, there are women who not only meet the necessary qualifications to be agents but who have chosen to live their lives no differently from the men who now serve, just as women in the Armed Services do."

House Republicans last week called for a Pentagon briefing about the Colombia prostitute scandal, which is thought to have involved not just roughly a dozen Secret Service agents but about a dozen members of the military as well.