Issa says more agents may be involved in Secret Service scandal

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said that the Secret Service scandal in Colombia could be larger than the 11 agents who were placed on administrative leave Saturday.

Issa, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said on CBS's “Face the Nation” Sunday that the scandal, which allegedly involved prostitutes in Colombia, was probably not the first of its kind.

“Things like this don’t happen once,” Issa said. “We think the number might be higher. We’re asking for the exact amount of all people ‘involved.’ ”

Issa said his committee will be looking “over the shoulder” of the investigation into the misconduct, saying he did not know whether he’d hold hearings yet.

Issa said the biggest concern of the scandal is the potential for blackmail of a group that protects the president and other leaders. While the White House has said President Obama was never in danger, Issa suggested that a more widespread evaluation and “soul searching” within the organization was necessary.

“It’s not about whether the president was in danger this time,” Issa said.

The agents placed on leave were on assignment in Cartagena, Colombia ahead of President Obama’s visit there this weekend, where he is attending the Summit of the Americas. They were recalled after the allegations first surfaced and placed on leave, pending an agency investigation. 

“This is standard procedure and allows us the opportunity to conduct a full, thorough and fair investigation into the allegations,” the Secret Service said in a statement Saturday.

While reports say the agents may have been involved with prostitutes, the agency has not acknowledged the nature of the alleged misconduct.

Five U.S. servicemembers may also be involved with the incident, the Defense Department said Saturday.

The five troops have been confined to their quarters in Colombia, and are under orders not to have contact with anyone, according to a Pentagon statement.