By Jonathan Easley - 04/24/12 03:35 PM EDT
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) suggested Tuesday that the prostitutes at the center of the Secret Service scandal represented a grave danger to national security because they could have been planted by another country like Russia.
“We’re looking at something that is very, very serious when national security might not be protected properly,” Grassley told Radio Iowa on Tuesday. “Who knows who might be using prostitutes? The Russians are famous for that to get information out of us. You want to know that the president is protected.”
Grassley has been pressing the White House for more information on the controversy, including whether any White House staffers engaged in improper behavior.
The White House on Monday said an internal probe had cleared White House staff, but Grassley on Tuesday morning said he wanted more questions answered.
“I don’t have that information yet and that’s what needs to be made public and we need to know whether or not there is other people involved that maybe we haven’t even thought of, and how far outside of this small group of people this investigation entailed," Grassley said on Fox News Channel's America's Newsroom.
"Because I think it’s very important we have this information out because the security of the president is of utmost importance and one of the main responsibilities of the people involved in any foreign travel or any domestic travel,” he said.
Eleven Secret Service agents and some members of the military assigned with advance security ahead of President Obama’s trip to Colombia last week are being investigated for allegedly bringing as many as 21 prostitutes back to their hotel.
Six of the agents have been fired, and the rest have been suspended pending further investigation.
Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote a letter to agency leaders last week asking if any White House staffers might also have been involved in the scandal.
“The issue here isn’t just people messing around with prostitutes,” Grassley continued. “The issue is the security of the president of the United States and the issue is any national security implications that it might have because of the secrecy and the documents and things of that nature.”
Obama will be on a campaign swing through Grassley’s home state of Iowa on Wednesday, while the Senator takes part in a hearing over the incident.
This story was posted at 11:35 and updated at 2:29 p.m.