Secret Service Tightens Rules Of Conduct
In the wake of the scandal that began with a dozen agents and a few Colombian prostitutes and has since expanded to uncover other incidents, the Secret Service is setting new rules for its protective details when they travel:
WASHINGTON — Two weeks after the Secret Service opened an investigation into whether a dozen of its agents and employees had spent the night with prostitutes in Colombia, the agency announced on Friday that it had tightened its rules for staff members traveling in foreign countries.
In an internal memorandum, the agency said that personnel would not be permitted to have foreigners in their rooms other than hotel staff members and law enforcement counterparts.
“Patronization of nonreputable establishments is prohibited,” the memo said, in an attempt to address the issue of workers spending time at strip clubs and brothels.
It also said that “alcohol may only be consumed in moderate amounts” on the trips and that drinking alcohol less than 10 hours before reporting for duty was prohibited. Agency rules had prohibited drinking less than four hours before reporting for duty. The memo emphasized that the laws of the United States “shall apply to Secret Service personnel while abroad.”
“Each point of the Secret Service star represents one of the agency’s five core values: justice, duty, courage, honest and loyalty,” the memo said, referring to the agency’s emblem. “These values should resonate with each man and woman in our organization.”
In a statement on Friday night, the Secret Service described the steps outlined in the memo as “common-sense enhancements” of “existing rules for employee responsibilities and conduct.” The statement said they were effective immediately.
The Secret Service has been under immense scrutiny since one of its employees got into a dispute over money with a prostitute at a hotel in Cartagena, Colombia, while on assignment in advance of a trip there by President Obama. Nine agents and officers have since been dismissed, and three have been disciplined.
The memo, sent to employees shortly before 5 p.m. on Friday, appears to address one of the biggest challenges agency officials have faced in the aftermath of the scandal: their regulations’ lack of clarity on whether an employee can spend the night with someone in a foreign country.
One would have thought that this would have been self-evident, to be completely honest, especially in the case of agents that are married.