A U.S. federal watchdog delivered its report on the April scandal when members of the secret service engaged prostitutes in Cartagena on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, shortly before U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in the country.
Charles K. Edwards, acting inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), said that 13 agency members had “personal encounters” with women in the Cartagena hotels and at a private residence after meeting them at nightclubs in the city. Three women left without asking for money, five demanded money and were paid, four were refused payment, and one woman was only paid after she called the police.
The DHS report said there was evidence that suggested two other U.S. government employees working for the Defense Department and the White House Communication Agency also met with women, but the investigators did not have the authority to investigate non-DHS personnel. The White House had carried out its own investigation in April and found no misconduct by its employees.
The White House responded to the claims saying that their employee was wrongly implicated because of inaccurate hotel records according to news site Politico.
The initial findings of the several month-long investigation which involved interviews with 251 personnel were delivered to Congress on Friday, and the final report will be delivered soon but will not be publicly released.
Though prostitution is legal in the country of Colombia, the deeply embarrassing episode resulted in eight secret service employees, including two senior supervisors, losing their jobs. Three of the employees were later cleared of serious misconduct and at least two are seeking to be reinstated.
Seven members of the army and two Marines were also embroiled in the scandal and received administrative punishments, however three of these have requested courts martial.