US Secret Service officers tasked with Obama's security sent home after drinking binge

US Secret Service officers tasked with Obama's security sent home after drinking binge

Two years ago, US Secret Service (SS) agents were involved in a scandal in Cartagena, a Colombian Caribbean resort.

Then, a dozen agents and officers drank heavily and took prostitutes to their hotel before US President Barack Obama arrived for an economic summit.

This week, the SS agents, who are tasked with the president's security, are again involved in a scandal.

Three agents responsible for protecting Mr Obama in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, were sent home and put on administrative leave on Sunday after going out for a night of drinking, sources told the Washington Post.

One of the agents was found drunk and passed out in a hotel hallway, the sources said.

Hotel staff alerted the US embassy in the Netherlands after finding the unconscious agent on Sunday morning, a day before the president arrived.

Mr Obama arrived in the Netherlands on Monday for the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague.

The Post said the three involved were GS-13-level agents and are members of the SS's Counter Assault Team (CAT).

One of the three was a "team leader" on CAT, but was not in a supervisory position in the agency.

Two former agency employees described the team as one of the most elite units in the agency, responsible for "the last line of defence" for the president.

The unit is tasked with protecting the president if he or his motorcade comes under attack, and to fight off assailants and draw fire while the protective detail removes the president from the area, AFP reported.

Those selected for CAT are required to be highly skilled shooters and extremely fit, with a demanding training regimen, the two ex-employees said.

CARTAGENA INCIDENT

In the Cartagena scandal, the agents' actions were discovered when one prostitute got into a noisy dispute in a hotel hallway about an agent's refusal to pay her.

Colombian police reported the incident to the US embassy there.

Following that, 10 agents were removed from their jobs, and multiple federal and congressional investigations followed, as well as the implementation of rules aimed at preventing future similar activity.


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