The Colombian prostitute allegedly at the center of a pay dispute that led to the U.S. Secret Service being rocked by scandal has spoken to the New York Times.
“I tell him, ‘Baby, my cash money,” the woman said to the unnamed security agent who solicited her services the night before, according to the newspaper.
In her first public interview over the scandal, the unnamed sex worker said a dispute erupted the morning after, when the agent in question “offered $30 for services she thought they had agreed were worth 25 times that.”
The quarrel reportedly took place in a hallway of the high-class Caribe hotel in which the U.S. officials were staying. As she and another prostitute argued over the bill, Colombian police officers stationed in the hotel stepped in to back them up. U.S. federal agents tried — and failed — to keep the situation from escalating.
The woman added that “they never told me that they were with Obama” despite media rumors that the men had bragged about their identity. “They were very discreet,” she said.
Investigators probing the scandal are now looking into whether drugs were involved, reported U.S. news agency CNN.
It is not clear whether any of the agents involved in the scandal have been tested for drugs although Secret Service director Mark Sullivan suggested that drugs testing is within his rights.
Authorities said drug use was inconsistent with their findings so far, though investigations are ongoing in partnership with local police.
U.S. congressman Peter T. King revealed that investigators had copies of identity cards belonging to up to 20 women who stayed at the hotel with the agents, reported Colombian news agency Semana.
U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Wednesday of the Secret Service scandal that he would “clean house” and replace the personnel who have “violated the public trust.”
Romney said removing the agents involved would be the “right thing to do” and accused the men of putting their “play time and their personal interests ahead of the nation.”
The Republican candidate said on Conservative political commentator Laura Ingraham’s radio show that he would “bring people into leadership of these organizations that are obviously committed to living by the highest standard of integrity.”
Romney’s comments came as a reaction to the media storm over the scandal, which is believed to have involved 11 members of the Secret Service and nine military personnel who were in Cartagena to ensure security before Barack Obama’s arrival at the Summit of the Americas.
Commentators have been calling for Secret Service director Mark Sullivan to be replaced, saying that this scandal is his “third strike” that should signal his exit, reported CNN.
“There’s only so many strikes you get, in baseball it’s three,” said Republican congressman Randy Forbes. “I think he’s had three (…) I think it’s time to put somebody else in there to make sure we’re getting a different culture in the Secret Service.”
President Obama has maintained that he “has confidence” in Sullivan. Other officials have spoken out in defense of the current director, who has served in the Secret Service since 1983.
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has praised Sullivan for taking “immediate and decisive action,” and said that the current investigation into the scandal reflects the “professionalism, honor, and integrity” of the service.