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We Think the Number Might Be Higher': Secret Service Scandal May Involve Still More Personnel

"Things like this don't happen once if they didn't happen before"

(NewsCore/ The Blaze)  The Republican congressman who runs the House investigative committee said Sunday that he believes the Secret Service scandal involving allegations of partying and prostitutes in Colombia may have involved more than the 11 agents and 5 U.S. service members implicated in current reports.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) told CBS' "Face the Nation" that he will seek to determine exactly how many Secret Service agents and members of the military were involved in the incident, saying, "we think the number might be higher, and we're asking for the exact amount of all the people who were involved."

Issa, who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said a breakdown in discipline within the elite security detail could have resulted in blackmail or other repercussions that ultimately may have endangered Obama or other top government officials.

"It's the reason that the investigation will not be about the 11 to 20 or more involved, it will be about how did this happen and how often has this happened before?  Things like this don't happen once if they didn't happen before," Issa said.

During a Saturday press conference, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president has full confidence in the Secret Service and its ability to protect him. The Secret Service agents involved in the incident, which occurred Wednesday night, were sent home and replaced by other personnel before Obama's arrival on Friday.

But Issa said he does not share in Obama's confidence after the incident.

 

"In this particular case, the [president] may not have been in danger, but that's -- that's to beg the whole question of what happens if somebody six months ago, six years ago, became the victim of their own misconduct and is now being blackmailed?" he asked. "So the question is, is the whole organization in need of some soul-searching, some changes, or before -- before the president, the vice president, members of the cabinet are in danger?"

The scandal will also be the subject of a probe by the House Homeland Security Committee, which oversees the Secret Service, although that panel's chairman predicted it was an isolated incident.

Chairman Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) told FOX News that he has directed his staff to launch an "immediate investigation" and said his committee will likely hold a hearing on the scandal.

King agreed with Issa that the agents left themselves open to blackmail or threats but added that he believes the incident was an "aberration."

Issa, meanwhile, said he has not determined if the incident will require hearings or an official investigation, but he said he wants to ensure that precautions are taken to prevent similar incidents.

"The question is how are they going to make these changes in discipline and perhaps polygraphs and other items being intensified so that this can't happen in the future," he remarked.

The president commented Sunday that, though he has full confidence in the Secret Service, he does expect a full investigation and will be "angry" if he finds out the allegations are true.

"I expect that investigation to be thorough, and I expect it to be rigorous," he said. "If it turns out that some of the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed, then of course I'll be angry. ... We are representing the people of the United States, and when we travel to another country, I expect us to observe the highest standards."

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