Secret Service and US military: Why prostitution can end careers
It’s only quite recently that prostitution has been specifically addressed in military law. It also violates the Secret Service code of conduct. That's why last week's scandal in Colombia is damaging careers and ending some while raising questions about human trafficking.
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Most of the 11 Secret Service agents and supervisors flown back to the United States (placed on administrative leave, their security clearances suspended) reportedly are married – which puts them in a precarious position regarding their employment with the agency.Skip to next paragraph
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“By allegedly hiring prostitutes, married Secret Service agents in Colombia violated their top-secret security clearances,” writes Ronald Kessler on the web site Newsmax. Mr. Kessler is the author of “In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect.”
“Every agent has such a security clearance,” Kessler wrote this week. “An extra-marital affair if proven can be grounds for revoking a clearance. Without that, no one can be an agent…. Aside from jeopardizing security clearances, engaging prostitutes violates the basic Secret Service code of conduct.”
So far, three of the 11 Secret Service members are being forced out of the agency. One supervisor was allowed to retire, and another was fired for cause (which he will appeal through the agency’s legal system). The third individual, a younger agent, resigned.
David Chaney was the supervisor who was allowed to retire. Supervisor Greg Stokes was "removed with cause" and has the option to appeal the decision within 30 days, according to several reports late Thursday.
Meanwhile, as officials sort through the details about what happened in Colombia, the episode raises anew questions about sex trafficking and forced prostitution.
Writes contributing columnist Kirsten Powers in USA Today:
“According to the US State Department, in Colombia, ‘The forced prostitution of women and children from rural areas in urban areas remains a … problem. The State Department notes, ‘Colombia also is a destination for foreign child sex tourists, particularly coastal cities such as Cartagena.’ Indeed, for this reason Colombia is known as the ‘Thailand of Latin America’.”
“Representatives of the US government should be setting the standard for the world, not feeding the problem of sex trafficking,” she writes. “The chances that the women or girls the Secret Service agents procured for their pleasure were there by free will is very low.”