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Something I'm unclear about in the Secret Service "escort scandal"


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One thing I haven't been able to find out from reading the online articles or listening to the news reports: Were the agents who hired the escorts on their own time, or were they "on the clock" in terms of payroll? While ideally Secret Service agents should avoid hiring escorts and prostitutes, especially if they're married, because it might subject them to bribery, it seems to make a big difference to me whether they were on the clock or not. The truth of the matter is that prostitution is legal in Cartagena, Colombia, so it doesn't seem like that big a deal to me if they were hiring with their own money on their own time. If the agents weren't married or otherwise in danger of being bribed, I don't see any problem at all (assuming, again, it's their own time and money).

Considering all of the money that goes into recruiting, training, and developing these agents, it's obvious that millions of dollars are going down the drain in this "escort scandal." I heard that all of these agents are going through polygraph (lie detector) testing to root out those who hired call girls. My personal opinion is that any lawmaker (or reporter or anyone else) who expresses "outrage" at these agents' legal hiring of escorts should also be required to take polygraph test to inquire into their escort hiring practices. I know for one that Anderson Cooper wouldn't pass. There are a lot of things in life which are worse than needing to get one's rocks off, and hypocrisy is one of those things, in my book.

As long as no government funds or fraud were involved, I feel that taxpayers would be better served with temporary suspensions and reprimands rather than mass lay-offs. And in my opinion, there should be no consequences if (1) the employees were off the clock and used their own money on this legal activity, and (2) the man who hired the escort(s) is either un-partnered and therefore not in danger of being bribed, or if his spouse/domestic partner can say "I know my husband/domestic partner hires escorts, and I'm OK with it" (i.e. meaning that he's also not subject to being bribed).

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I had the same reaction when I first heard this story. However, there was one point that was made, in that they brought the women back to the hotel. That apparently was a security concern. I don't think it was the same hotel that the President was going to, but there was still some security information in the hotel that could have been put at risk. Still, I basically agree that the scandal has been blown out of proportion.

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A lot of the training dollars were wasted if the agents didn't understand that they were going to be held to a different standard of conduct, especially when not in the US. Their "contract" allows for them to be "called to duty" 24/7 and they basically have no "off time" except during vacation, etc. Even then, their conduct is subject to being "under a microscope", so to speak.

 

Ordinary citizens "know" they should not drink and drive. Would you hold a policeman who might deal with DUIs all day to a different standard if he drank and drove? After all he is human with frailties like other humans but shouldn't he "know" much better? Stay home and have a drink. Good advice for "ordinary citizens" as well as cops.

 

There are many other occupations where folks are "required" to adhere to "higher" standards to include pilots, etc. They don't always do so but they generally suffer the consequences when they don't.

 

Best regards,

KMEM

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It appears some feel that the scandal is out of proportion because... prostitution is legal in this sector of Columbia and therefore...? I do not get the logic of this.

 

The Secret Service exists to protect the President, Vice President and other high officials of our government. Even when they are "off duty" they are held to a special standard whereby they could not/would not be placed at risk - or place those they are commissioned to protect with their lives at risk because of stupid behavior. T<his is why there was so much picque woth that brain-dead couple of Washington "socialite hangers-on" crashing a White House State Dinner last year.

 

These Secret Servicemen were stupid plain and simple, and the fact that one of them even had a Facebook page and used it to make jokes about someone he was purportedly "guarding" shows that the professionalism of a few (I will not blame them all) has gone down the drain and a reviw is in order from top to bottom. Those that would laugh or excuse his imature bragging because he was guarding Sarah Palin show their own shallowness in understanding that the Secret Service are ABOVE politics. Do we really want men and women in that position who place their personal likes and dislikes of individuals they serve above their duty? They learn (,ike most in the military) that they are serving the country; they serve the Office of the President, no matter who is IN the office and who is family members are (and believe me, they have had all kinds of people to serve over the century and a half or so since they were founded).

 

Columbian prostitutes - like those in other countries - are often "controlled" by others, and for the Secret Service to have the arrogance to think that their going to a club filled with such working women, and then worse, bringing them back to their "secure" hotel rooms would not be observed by their Columbian counteparts and others shows an idiocy unbecoming people in their position. On that alone they should be fired. I imagine that their comings and goings at least from outside (including the nightclub visit) were being csarefully and scrupulously filmed for posterity by the Columbian authorities (and prbably by secret police of other nations whose leaders were visiting for the meeting), and so they compromised the President and Secretary of State pure and simple.

 

This has nothing to do with hypocrisy of individuals who hire escorts (male or female) -- as 90% of them are NOT in jobs or positions that would compromise others by their extracurricular activities. When someone joins or is enlisted into the Secret Service he/she should know they are being held to a higher standard. If they don't or if they are not told this, then something is wrong because they are placing the security of our government in jeoprady.

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While it is a good idea that people adhere to certain standards of conduct, in most professions there are specific rules to which professionals adhere. Each professional (lawyers, doctors, etc.) accused of deviating from a rule is entitled to a hearing and generally a further appeal process. Perhaps because the Secret Service also "protects" aspects of the nation, they are not provided such protections. I don't know. But, it is clear that this sort of thing has been going on for years and has been apparently condoned by the agency. I don't think any of us felt less safe when we heard that Secret Service agents paid prostitutes for sexual "hours of fun." I believe the ruckus goes more to the fact that Americans are not very comfortable with sex, period. I can't imagine that this kind of hoopla would be being made if it was the Spanish or Italian Secret Service (assuming they have one).

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Ordinary citizens "know" they should not drink and drive. Would you hold a policeman who might deal with DUIs all day to a different standard if he drank and drove? After all he is human with frailties like other humans but shouldn't he "know" much better? Stay home and have a drink. Good advice for "ordinary citizens" as well as cops.

 

There are many other occupations where folks are "required" to adhere to "higher" standards to include pilots, etc. They don't always do so but they generally suffer the consequences when they don't.

 

Best regards,

KMEM

 

I don't find your comparisons very apt. The most obvious difference between DUI's and hiring escorts in Colombia is, of course, that one is illegal and one is not. More important, most assuredly, is the fact that DUIs put the public in danger, whereas hiring hookers does not. The standards are even higher related to alcohol use in pilots because the captain of an airplane may have literally hundreds of lives in his hands. I, for one, due not see sexual activity as a "frailty," but rather as an inborn biological imperative necessary for the preservation of the species. I feel it is quite unfair to compare natural human activity, which we all engage in, to callous life-threatening behavior which I believe most people never do.

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I, frankly, don't care if it was "their" own time or not. Just like I don't want my congressman doing stuff like this or my clergyman I certainly don't want the men and women who are charged with protecting the president to be doing something like this. Especially in their own hotel rooms with top secret schedules lying about. I'm sorry but that's just an ethical line that shouldn't be crossed. It doesn't matter that prostitution is legal there; it isn't legal here (even though I think it should be).

 

And what does Anderson Cooper have to do with this? Is he in a highly sensitive government job? Not the last time I looked.

 

The best part of the story was that those hot babes were getting $65 per hour. Where do we find hot guys that charge that??????

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The best part of the story was that those hot babes were getting $65 per hour. Where do we find hot guys that charge that??????

 

I'm guessing that you might be able to get a hot guy in Colombia as well for about that.

 

As far as the situation with the secret service agents, the issue for me comes down to whether their actions violated rules/regulations regarding their conduct on such an assignment. I think it is likely they did and they knew it did, and of course they got caught at it so they have to pay the piper so to speak.

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Columbian prostitutes - like those in other countries - are often "controlled" by others, and for the Secret Service to have the arrogance to think that their going to a club filled with such working women, and then worse, bringing them back to their "secure" hotel rooms would not be observed by their Columbian counteparts and others shows an idiocy unbecoming people in their position. On that alone they should be fired. I imagine that their comings and goings at least from outside (including the nightclub visit) were being carefully and scrupulously filmed for posterity by the Columbian authorities (and prbably by secret police of other nations whose leaders were visiting for the meeting), and so they compromised the President and Secretary of State pure and simple.

 

I want to thank you for you well-thought reply. I must confess that I hadn't thought of the possibility that some Secret Service agents might have actually brought hookers to hotel rooms which may have had classified materials in the room. If such is the case, then I would agree that those agents should be promptly canned. So far, however, I haven't heard of this as an issue (not that I'm implying it wasn't an issue--just that I haven't personally read or heard it myself). I don't know about the Sarah Palin stuff, as this has nothing to do with the escort scandal of which I was discussing. I'm not sure what the issue is with respect to agents being filmed going into nightclubs and brothels. If I were an agent, I wouldn't have any more issue being filmed going into a brothel than I would going into a Starbucks (or Tim Horton's for our Canadian guests). I think the issue, as I pointed out in my original post, is whether or not the agent could be subject to being bribed "I'll show the video to the media if you don't give me info on the President" (etc.).

By the way, just for your own learning, the country is "Colombia," not "Columbia," and the citizens "Colombians." I say this not to denigrate your post, but rather because I was quite grateful when someone pointed this out to me once, as I had been writing it incorrectly for many years. It does get confusing for us Americans, since our capital is located in the "District of Columbia," so we are used to writing the word with a "u" instead of with two "o's".

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I don't find your comparisons very apt. The most obvious difference between DUI's and hiring escorts in Colombia is, of course, that one is illegal and one is not. More important, most assuredly, is the fact that DUIs put the public in danger, whereas hiring hookers does not. The standards are even higher related to alcohol use in pilots because the captain of an airplane may have literally hundreds of lives in his hands. I, for one, due not see sexual activity as a "frailty," but rather as an inborn biological imperative necessary for the preservation of the species. I feel it is quite unfair to compare natural human activity, which we all engage in, to callous life-threatening behavior which I believe most people never do.

 

Your comments disappoint me, Uni. I believe that you are an MD, a profession that requires a lot of education? I was not trying to point out any "legal" differences but only those that do insist upon higher standards. As you mention, aviation captains can put several citizens into "danger". I also believe the same for various members of federal agents such as the SS. Not to notpick but hiring escorts and DUI can obviously put the public into danger; one rather immediately and the other, sooner or later, perhaps.

 

Are you willing to ignore the "safety" of your patients in the name of "what ordinary citizens might or might not do"? I didn't think so.

 

Best regards,

KMEM

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I don't care what one thinks of Sarah Palin (as it's not relevant in the least) but that Secret Service agent that posted photos of her on his facebook page with the caption that he was "checking her out" should have been immediately fired. That was beyond wrong, unethical, whatever. This is starting to sound like the bunch that was protecting Lincoln (incompetent) and we all know how that turned out.

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One thing I haven't been able to find out from reading the online articles or listening to the news reports: Were the agents who hired the escorts on their own time, or were they "on the clock" in terms of payroll? any problem at all (assuming, again, it's their own time and money).

QUOTE]

 

The fact that you have to ask such a question shows a naivete beyond belief. How is it that these agents found themselves in Colombia? Were they on vacation with their wives? The answer is No, we all know they were the advance team for the president to check out the security for him who was to visit the next day for a state visit.

 

As anyone with a wit of intelligence knows, these agents were on expenses paid by the government who paid for their hotel rooms, meals, per diems etc. Their airfares their taxis etc etc. They were on duty! And being paid for it. Why do you ask such a naive question?

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I, frankly, don't care if it was "their" own time or not. Just like I don't want my congressman doing stuff like this or my clergyman I certainly don't want the men and women who are charged with protecting the president to be doing something like this. Especially in their own hotel rooms with top secret schedules lying about. I'm sorry but that's just an ethical line that shouldn't be crossed. It doesn't matter that prostitution is legal there; it isn't legal here (even though I think it should be).

 

The best part of the story was that those hot babes were getting $65 per hour. Where do we find hot guys that charge that??????

 

First, it assumes that the agents left or would leave their "top secret" schedules lying about. From what it sounds like, they were the lower tier Secret Service personnel. I still don't feel too unsafe that they had prostitutes in their room. From what I understand, this practice had been going on for years and the last time I looked we hadn't been invaded by Latin American terrorists. We would be just at risk if the agent had a SA friend who visited their room. Do you think there would be a story if that would have happened?

Second, try Brasil, Panama, Dominican Republic, Cuba, etc, etc, etc, for $65 love mates.

Finally, I really don't give a fuck if my Congressman frequents prostitutes, as long as he pays them with his/her own money.

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I had the same reaction when I first heard this story. However, there was one point that was made, in that they brought the women back to the hotel. That apparently was a security concern. I don't think it was the same hotel that the President was going to, but there was still some security information in the hotel that could have been put at risk. Still, I basically agree that the scandal has been blown out of proportion.

 

IF (and it's a big if) there was security information sitting around unsecured then the agents should be immediately fired for having security information sitting around unsecured. Not for hiring hookers.

 

None of that has been officially charged.

 

If an agent had security information sitting around unsecured, he should be summarily fired. I agree with this. He should be fired for having security information sitting around unsecured, not because he hired hookers.

 

If there WASN'T secured information sitting around unsecured and all they did was hire a hooker in an area where hiring hookers is legal, they did nothing wrong. (Except trying to stiff one of the girls for her fee. That's rat bastard behavior!)

 

Americans serving overseas are supposed to conform to local laws and social customs. Apparently they did, and now they're getting fired for it.

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Some very interesting points have been made about what probably will be known as "The Secret Service Sex Scandals" for years to come---well, at least for a few days---considering the media's attention span. A few comments:

1. I agree with Luv2play's point that the agents were in Colombia on US taxpayers' expense---they were not on vacation

and did not pay for their airfare, hotel rooms, and I suspect they got per diem pay in addition to their salaries.

2. Someone said the agents involved were "low-level." Not sure I agree----weren't at least two of them supervisors? If

they were, then certainly they had responsibilities beyond just "being there."

3. I think it says something about American culture that very few items, either here or in the media, refer to whether

any of these men were married or not. Or maybe I'm the only one who thinks that it's relevant? Hiring a prostitute

entails risks for all, but isn't it heightened when you are married---hetero or gay??

4. And last---I have not heard or read any details about the level of sobriety of the agents. It has been reported that

they had been drinking and perhaps this is not an important detail, but isn't there a possibility that they could have

harmed the reputation of the Secret Service by public drunkeness, if in fact that occurred?

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IF (and it's a big if) there was security information sitting around unsecured then the agents should be immediately fired for having security information sitting around unsecured. Not for hiring hookers.

 

None of that has been officially charged.

 

If an agent had security information sitting around unsecured, he should be summarily fired. I agree with this. He should be fired for having security information sitting around unsecured, not because he hired hookers.

 

If there WASN'T secured information sitting around unsecured and all they did was hire a hooker in an area where hiring hookers is legal, they did nothing wrong. (Except trying to stiff one of the girls for her fee. That's rat bastard behavior!)

 

Americans serving overseas are supposed to conform to local laws and social customs. Apparently they did, and now they're getting fired for it.

 

That's so naive and wrong-headed that I don't think a response can even be formulated. That last sentence, except if meant facetiously, is breath-taking in its ignorance.

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A lot of the training dollars were wasted if the agents didn't understand that they were going to be held to a different standard of conduct, especially when not in the US. Their "contract" allows for them to be "called to duty" 24/7 and they basically have no "off time" except during vacation, etc. Even then, their conduct is subject to being "under a microscope", so to speak.

 

The fact that you have to ask such a question shows a naivete beyond belief.

 

At least a few members here are thinking.

 

Is the Secret Service like any other job? How many American presidents do we have? No matter what you think of escort services and freedom, some of the banter on this subject is downright goofy.

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For insurance purposes and workman's compensation, you are considered on company time as long as you are not returning to your normal residence in the evening. Therefore, when you are on a company trip, you are considered at work, 24 hours a day. Normally if the company pays your living expenses you are considered on the job.

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My question is: Why do we now have three active threads running on the topic of secret service behavior in Colombia?

 

Because it is a topic of "general" interest?

 

BTW- Is Republican Hell somewhere in say Illinois? :)

 

Best regards,

KMEM

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