White House: Obama confident in Secret Service director following scandal

President Obama has “confidence” in Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan following allegations that a group of agents solicited prostitutes in Columbia last week.

White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Tuesday that Sullivan “acted swiftly” in response to the incident and is “overseeing the investigation.”

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“The Secret Service performs admirably in its number one mission, which is to protect the president of the United States,” Carney said, adding that Obama feels strongly that the work they do is “exemplary.”

The White House spokesman stopped shy of saying if Obama felt let down by the incident.

But Carney added that Obama “believes that all of us who travel abroad represent our country ... and that we need to behave with the ... highest levels of integrity and probity.


“And that's a general statement of the president's perspective on this kind of matter,” he said.

Obama’s trip to Colombia was overshadowed by allegations that 11 Secret Service agents partied before the president’s arrival and brought prostitutes back to their hotel rooms.

While the Secret Service has said Obama’s security was not compromised, lawmakers in both parties said the incident was a major breach that could have led to blackmail or worse.

The Washington Post reported on its website Tuesday afternoon that as many as 21 women were brought back to the Hotel Caribe in Cartagena, Colombia, by Secret Service agents and U.S. military personnel. The Post reported that 11 agents and nine military personnel were suspected of misconduct.

Speaking about the incident in Colombia this weekend, Obama said he expects an investigation to be “thorough” and “rigorous.”

“If it turns out that some of the allegations made in the press are confirmed, then of course I'll be angry,” Obama said.

At the White House on Tuesday, Carney said Obama is getting regular updates on the incident.

“There is an investigation ongoing,” Carney said. “The president is confident that that investigation is under way, and he looks forward to its conclusions. I'm sure there might be further comment on it after that.”