As more details emerge, lawmakers want more answers
POSTED: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 8:00am
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 8:09am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — This morning we're learning more details about just how many women were involved in the Secret Service prostitution scandal down in Colombia, and how the incident went public.
The Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees the Secret Service is seriously considering their own investigation, as we�re learning there were nearly two dozen women involved.
Lawmakers briefed by the Secret Service say agents and service members brought 20 to 21 foreign women back to their hotel.
Investigators are interviewing the women and doing extensive background checks to see if any were working as spies for drug cartels or terrorists. "I hope they get to the bottom of it quickly," said House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio.
We now know that in addition to the eleven Secret Service Agents, there were also five soldiers, two sailors, two marines and one airman involved. Two were found with prostitutes in their rooms.
The U.S. Embassy was called after one woman complained to police that she wasn't paid. "It was very irresponsible. It was the wrong thing to do. But I don't want to use this as a way to indict the entire Secret Service," said the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Peter King.
Lawmakers want to know if this has happened before. "For 11 or 12 Secret Service personnel to be involved raises a huge red flag," said Ranking Member of the Homeland Security & Gov't Affairs Committee, Senator Susan Collins.
"Everyone's human, and everybody can make a mistake, but these numbers are shocking to me," said Former Secret Service Director Brian Stafford.
In a letter to staff, Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan promised a "full, thorough and fair" investigation. "The President has confidence in the director of the Secret Service. Director Sullivan acted quickly in response to this incident," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
The Secret Service Director briefed lawmakers Tuesday and speaks to the Senate Judiciary Committee later this week.