WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — A Secret Service agent involved in a Colombian prostitution scandal hints that employees in other U.S. government agencies have been involved in such conduct.
Speaking to CBS News, Gregory Stokes, a 20-year veteran who was suspended for the incident, believes he and other agents are being “railroaded.”
“Clearly what happened in Cartagena – the behavior that was exhibited down there – is not something that meets the expectations of the American people. For that, we are truly sorry,” Stokes told CBS News. “But for anybody to think that the Secret Service, as an agency, has more or less of a problem with that behavior than any other agency with top secret security clearances, they’d be wrong.”
Stokes explained to CBS News senior correspondent John Miller that he and other Secret Service agents – who were in Colombia ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit to the Summit of the Americas – hired prostitutes and brought them back to their Cartagena hotel rooms.
“What happened down there was a bunch of agents who were not specifically assigned to duty at a given time, were on their own time, went out and met some women, brought them back to their rooms, did what they did and said, ‘See ya later,’” Stokes said.
The incident came to light after police were called to the hotel after one of the prostitutes allegedly got into an argument with one of the agents about being paid more money. Word soon spread to the United States Embassy and the media.
“I knew, based upon the media coverage, that it was gonna be a big deal,” Stokes said.
Of the 11 agents involved in the scandal, six have been suspended, three have returned to active duty and two others quit.
Stokes is hoping Congress opens up an independent investigation because he believes the Department of Homeland Security inspector general left two people out of the investigation report: a Secret Service executive and a volunteer White House staffer.
“First and foremost, I’d like to see due process achieved for myself and the other Secret Service employees who have been railroaded in this matter,” Stokes told CBS News. “Secondly, I sincerely hope that Congress opens up a separate, full and independent investigation of all these facts, so that the American public has the answers that they deserve.”