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Secret Service Chief Sees No ‘Systemic’ Problems

Yesterday, Mark Sullivan, director of the Secret Service appeared before the Senate Homeland Security Committee.  It was his first appearance before Congress since the prostitution scandal came to light in April.

Excerpt from today’s New York Times:

Mr. Sullivan’s appearance only heightened the senators’ discomfort with the Cartagena episode and the director’s attitude toward it. Again and again, the lawmakers raised past episodes to suggest there was a pattern of sexual misconduct that had been ignored or even condoned by supervisors. Each time, Mr. Sullivan defended the Secret Service’s culture and integrity, even as he vowed to pursue the investigation in the case vigorously.

The senators did not call for Mr. Sullivan to step aside, but they did press Charles K. Edwards, the acting inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security, to pursue an independent investigation, and not just look over the shoulders of the Secret Service in its own inquiry.

“I think that the director’s a very fine individual who’s very proud of his own career — understandably so — and of the agency that he heads,” Ms. Collins said. “Therefore, I think he has a difficult time coming to grips with the fact that he has a broader problem than just this one incident.”

Joe Davidson of the Washington Post quotes Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.):

“It is hard for many people, including me, I will admit, to believe that on one night in April 2012 in Cartagena, Colombia, 12 Secret Service agents there to protect the president suddenly and spontaneously did something they or other agents had never done before, which is gone out in groups of two, three or four to four different nightclubs or strip clubs, drink to excess, and then bring foreign national women back to their hotel rooms.”

Director Sullivan said he had named a “professionalism reinforcement working group” to improve his agency.

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