Secret Service Sets Stage for Tepid South American Conference

The following is a guest post by Joseph Hall.

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Secret Service Sets Stage for Tepid South American Conference

The legacy of an administration out of control is once again rearing its ugly head, this time at the Summit of the Americas in Columbia SA. Yesterday, about a dozen US Secret Service agents were relieved of their duties in Cartagena, Colombia, creating an international incident.

According to a tip received by AP, the agents were involved with local prostitutes.  In the AP article, Misconduct alleged against Secret Service agents, (JULIE PACE and FRANK BAJAK)

A dozen Secret Service agents sent to Colombia to provide security for President Barack Obama at an international summit have been relieved of duty over alleged misconduct.

A caller who said he had knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press the misconduct involved prostitutes in Cartagena, site of the Summit of the Americas. A Secret Service spokesman did not dispute that.

A U.S. official, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter and requested anonymity, put the number of agents sent home at 12. Secret Service was not releasing the number of personnel involved.

The incident threatened to overshadow Obama’s economic and trade agenda at the summit and embarrass the U.S. The White House had no comment, but also did not dispute the allegations.

This story closely follows a scandal at the GSA for massive fiscal abuses since 2010. Additionally, the administration has been investigated on charges that the DOJ mishandled the Operation Fast and Furious in which both Mexican and American federal agents died from gunshot wounds by guns sold to members of the Mexican drug cartels.

This year’s summit was already cast as a diplomatic test for the president, as reported by USA Today, “Obama will play defense at Summit of Americas,”

“I think that the United States has to turn around and really look at Latin America with greater responsibility,” Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina told the Associated Press in Cartagena Friday. “In reality, I feel that the agenda of the United States and the agenda of Latin America countries, instead of moving in parallel to each other, or converging, are taking paths that separate them, that distance them.”

In large part, declining U.S. influence comes down to waning economic clout, as China gains on the U.S. as a top trading partner throughout the region. In fact, Latin America weathered the recent economic crisis by exporting soybeans, iron ore and other commodities to China.

“Most countries of the region view the United States as less and less relevant to their needs — and with declining capacity to propose and carry out strategies to deal with the issues that most concern them,” the Washington-based think tank the Inter-American Dialogue noted in a pre-summit report.

While Obama was well received at his first meeting at the summit, his policies on Cuba, the legalization of drugs, and Argentina’s claim on British held Falkland Islands are among sticking points among other summit attendees.

Watch YouTube video: “Secret Service Agents Sent Home From Summit Amid Allegations Of Misconduct “Prostitution”

See LC articles:

Federal Workers Got Bonuses for Planning Expensive GSA Vegas Conference

ATF Agent Communicated Directly with White House Aide on Fast and Furious

See also: GSA Jeff Neely Takes the 5th – Sheesh! He’s a White Guy – Maybe Justice from DOJ? (Maggie’s Notebook)

Submitted by: Joseph Hall

Update: Linked by Maggie’s Notebook – thanks!