You’d think the people working for the Secret Service could keep a secret, but it’s hard to keep a ribald tale quiet, it seems.
Right on the high-priced tail of the scandal down in Colombia, the world’s largest producer of cocaine, comes word that agents in El Salvador, the smallest country in Central America, have been up to no good there too.
Seattle’s KIRO TV breaks the news, saying reporter Chris Halsne has interviewed a civilian contractor who says he joined about a dozen Secret Service agents and a few U.S. military specialists at a strip club in San Salvador (the tiny nation’s capitol) a few days before President Obama and his family arrived in March 2011. The president was visiting to meet El Salvador’s new president, Mauricio Funes.
A spokesman for the Secret Service, Edwin Donovan, said the agency was investigating the new allegations.
Agents were “heavily intoxicated” (aka “wasted”) at the strip club and paid to enter a VIP area “where they were provided a number of sexual favors in return for their cash.”
The unidentified source also said agents bragged they took strippers to hotel rooms “all of the time.”
To confirm the story, Halsne traveled to El Salvador and spoke with the strip club owner, who said agents were there at least three nights in a row prior to Obama’s arrival.
“No surprise to me,” the owner told Halsne, adding his club routinely takes care of high-ranking employees of the U.S. embassy in San Salvador as well as visiting FBI and DEA agents.
The El Salvador trip occurred about one year before the president’s trip to Colombia. Prostitution is legal in both countries.
The Washington Post earlier this week cited unnamed “confidants” of the Secret Service officers implicated in the Colombia scandal saying senior managers tolerated similar behavior during official trips. It described a visit to Buenos Aires in 2009 by former President Bill Clinton, whose protective detail it said included agents and uniformed officers. During that trip, the Post said, members of the detail went out for a late night of partying at strip clubs.
In related news, a Brazilian prostitute plans to sue the U.S. Embassy and three Marines for allegedly shoving her out of a moving van. Romilda Aparecida Ferreira, described by her attorney as a “sex professional and dancer,” says she broke her collarbone, two ribs and punctured a lung in the Dec. 29, 2011, incident.
WSB-TV will air a version of the KIRO-TV report at 5 p.m.