Levin, McCain to get second briefing on Colombia scandal

Panel Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich) and Ranking Member John McCain will be briefed Tuesday on Capitol Hill by senior DOD and Joint Staff officials, according to a Monday statement by McCain spokesman Brian Rogers. 

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This will be the second time DOD has briefed Levin and McCain on the Colombia situation. 

Joint Staff Director Vice Adm. Bill Gortney and Southern Command Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Juan Ayala will be among the group of top-level DOD officers who will provide Tuesday's briefing into the Colombia incident. 

In April, up to 12 American soldiers, along with members of the Secret Service, were caught bringing upwards of 20 prostitutes back to a hotel in Cartagena, Colombia, that was to be used for President Obama's state visit. 

The embarrassing incident sparked a firestorm of controversy on Capitol Hill and across the country and left the Secret Service and Obama administration reeling. 

Tuesday's briefing will look to sooth congressional concerns after McCain slammed the department officials for its lackluster effort to inform Congress on the incident last April. 

Military officials who briefed Levin and McCain on April 25 were "woefully unprepared to answer even the most basic questions" about the behavior of U.S. soldiers and Secret Service agents during the Colombia trip, according to the Arizona Republican. 

DOD briefers "provided appallingly little new information" on the Colombia trip, McCain said at the time. 

Joint Staff officials could not even provide lawmakers basic information about the trip, such as the date on which Obama arrived in the country or who the U.S. military commander in charge of the mission was. 

Adding insult to injury, the subpar briefing came after weeks after lawmakers' initial request for information on the Pentagon's investigation into the incident. 

As a result, McCain said in April that lawmakers are considering "all available means for this Committee to obtain the information" that was not provided during Wednesday's DOD briefing. 

Those available means also included bringing Pentagon officials before the committee to testify about the details of the Colombia fiasco under oath. 

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee, also noted his committee also plans to call congressional hearings into the incident in the coming weeks. 

Its unclear whether Tuesday's briefing will effectively take the hearing option off the table. 

To date, A total of nine Secret Service agents in total have already been forced out of the agency or resigned as a result of the incident.

Three others were cleared of allegations but face administrative action, according to Secret Service Assistant Director Paul Morrissey.