WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — The Secret Service sent three agents home from the Netherlands just before President Barack Obama’s arrival after one agent was found “drunk and passed out” in an Amsterdam hotel, The Washington Post reports.
The three agents were benched for “disciplinary reasons,” said Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan, declining to elaborate. Donovan said the incident was prior to Obama’s arrival Monday in the country and did not compromise the president’s security in any way.
Still, the incident represents a fresh blemish for an elite agency struggling to rehabilitate its reputation following a high-profile prostitution scandal and other allegations of misconduct. An inspector general’s report in December concluded there was no evidence of widespread misconduct, in line with the service’s longstanding assertion that it has no tolerance for inappropriate behavior.
The agents sent home from Amsterdam were placed on administrative leave, according to The Washington Post, which first reported the disciplinary action. The newspaper said all three were on the Counter Assault Team, which defends the president if he comes under attack, and that one agent was a “team leader.”
One agent was discovered highly intoxicated by staff at a hotel, who reported it to the U.S. Embassy, said a person familiar with the situation, who wasn’t authorized to discuss the alleged behavior on the record and demanded anonymity. The other two agents were deemed complicit because they didn’t intervene despite being in a position to assist the drunken agent or tamp down his behavior, the person said.
More from the report:
The alleged behavior would violate new Secret Service rules adopted in the wake of a damaging scandal in Cartagena, Colombia, in April 2012, when a dozen Secret Service agents and officers had been drinking heavily and had brought prostitutes back to their hotel rooms prior to the president’s arrival for an economics summit.
Under the requirements, anyone on an official trip is prohibited from drinking alcohol 10 hours prior to being on duty. As members of the advance team for a presidential trip, the CAT members would have been called to duty sometime on Sunday for a classified briefing a day prior to the president’s arrival on Monday. Drinking late into the night Saturday evening and Sunday morning would have violated that rule.
“It wasn’t like a big, crazy party,” the person said.
Obama arrived in the Netherlands early Monday on the first leg of a weeklong, four-country trip. He departed for Brussels on Tuesday night, and there were no known security issues during his stay in the Netherlands.