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Secret Service: Scale of prostitution party in Colombia revealed

Secret Service and US Marines brought 21 women to the hotel in Cartagena, Colombia. Sen. Susan Collins (R) of Maine gave new details of the Secret Service scandal.

By Susan Cornwell and Tabassum ZakariaReuters / April 18, 2012

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee ranking Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine Collins said that at least 20 women were involved in the hotel incident with Secret Service agents, US Marines and prostitutes in Colombia.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

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Washington

US Secret Service agents and military personnel took as many as 21 women back to their hotel in Colombia in an incident last week involving alleged misconduct with prostitutes, a Republican senator said on Tuesday.

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"There are 11 agents involved. Twenty or 21 women foreign nationals were brought to the hotel, but allegedly Marines were involved with the rest," Sen. Susan Collins (R) of Maine - who was briefed by the director of the Secret Service, Mark Sullivan - said in an email to Reuters.

"Director Sullivan is rightly appalled by the agents actions and is pursuing a vigorous internal investigation," said Collins, the senior Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee. "He ordered all the agents to return to Washington immediately, and all have been interviewed."

More details about the incident that marred President Barack Obama's weekend trip to the Summit of the Americas in Categena, Colombia emerged on Tuesday.

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A Marine Corps spokesman said two Marine dog handlers assigned to support the Secret Service are being investigated to determine whether they were involved in soliciting prostitutes.

The spokesman, Captain Kevin Schultz, said the Marines were on the advance team and were not in direct contact with Obama.

The Secret Service has revoked the top security clearances of its 11 agents and placed them on administrative leave due to the incident.

The agents brought the prostitutes to their beachfront hotel in Cartagena, before Obama arrived for the summit, according to a local police source. A U.S. official told Reuters that more than 10 military service members also may have been involved.

"The president has confidence in Director Sullivan," Obama's spokesman Jay Carney said. "The director acted swiftly in response to this incident and is overseeing an investigation."

INVESTIGATORS IN COLOMBIA

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