DEA Clams Up on Status of Three Agents in Columbia Prostitution Scandal

By Pollock, Richard | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, March 18, 2013 | Go to article overview

DEA Clams Up on Status of Three Agents in Columbia Prostitution Scandal


Pollock, Richard, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


Drug Enforcement Agency officials are refusing to answer questions today about why three DEA officers involved in the Cartagena, Columbia, prostitution scandal are still on the federal payroll.

On Friday, DEA spokesman Lawrence R. Payne told The Washington Examiner that "this matter is currently under review by the Board of Professional Conduct."

But Payne declined to discuss any aspect of the case when pressed for details today.

The DEA agents are accused of procuring and paying a prostitute for a Secret Service supervisor, lying to investigators about their roles in the incident, destroying evidence and obstructing an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Inspector General.

Even so, the three are still on the federal payroll, according to Michael Horowitz, the DOJ IG, who disclosed the fact last week during a hearing before a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.

"My understanding is that all three are still officially employees of the DEA," Horowitz told the panel, which oversee the budgets for DOJ and DEA.

"And they are still on the job a year later," replied subcommittee chairman Frank Wolf, R-VA. "That's just not a good thing."

The Secret Service prostitution scandal erupted last April when 12 Secret Service agents traveled to Cartagena, Colombia, to advance a trip by President Obama to address an international summit there. Prostitution is legal in Columbia, but federal workers are subject to ethics laws and regulations no matter where they are stationed.

In contrast to the DEA case, nine of the 12 Secret Service agents resigned or retired within a month of the April, 2012, incident. Three were cleared of any wrongdoing.

But Horowitz told the Wolf panel last week that DOJ officials have on more than one occasion failed to discipline employee misconduct quickly and uniformly. …

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