3 of the Secret Service agents booted as tawdry details emerge in hooker scandal
One supervisor was “allowed to retire,” another supervisor was fired — and a third agent quit.By Edgar Sandoval , Alison Gendar AND Joseph Straw
April 19, 2012
Three of the Secret Service agents who caroused with hookers in Colombia were booted Wednesday as more salacious details emerged about the tawdry dispute over payment that kicked off the sex scandal.
Secret Service Assistant Director Paul Morrissey said one supervisor was “allowed to retire,” another supervisor was fired — and a third agent quit.
Rep. Peter King (R-L.I.) said the agent who was fired is fighting his dismissal. "He's suing the agency and fighting to stay," he said.
King did not know if that agent was the one who kicked off the brouhaha by stiffing one of the 20 hookers hired by the frolicking G-men.
Eight other Secret Service operatives remain on administrative leave. Their security clearances have been stripped.
The call girl at the heart of the scandal is a dark-haired stunner who goes by the name Tania and was humiliated when an agent gave her only $28 for the night, according to the cabbie who drove her home.
“He only gave her 50,000 pesos ($28) for a cab ride, because he thought he had already paid her,” Jose Pena told The News.
She told Pena, “This never happened to me before. I feel so embarrassed.”
Pena said the raven-haired 5’-4” escort was one of a group of girls the agents picked up very late at a club and took back to the Hotel Caribe — but not before she stopped to buy condoms.
The agents have told investigators they didn’t realize the scantily clad ladies lavishing attention on them were prostitutes until it was too late.
“Most of them said they didn't know until they got back to their rooms that they were hookers,” a source said.
After the wild night, Tania told the cabbie her agent was still drunk in the morning, when he belligerently kicked her out of his hotel room and locked the door.
“I tell him, ‘Baby, my cash money,’” she told the New York Times.
She said she banged fruitlessly on the door and then went to another agent’s room to summon one of her friends.
A group of hookers, Secret Service agents and local cops gathered in the hotel hallway arguing as the original agent remained behind his locked door.
Eventually, the other agents gathered $225 in dollars and pesos for Tania, who agreed to leave, Pena said.
Tania is a 24-year-old single mother who takes pride in being an escort — and not a hooker.
She typically pockets $800 for a “date” - and that she had told the agent in advance that’s what she cost.
She told the Times the agents - who pounded two bottles of Absolut vodka at the club - didn’t brag about their job protecting President Obama, who was on his way to Cartagena for a summit.
“They never told me they were with Obama,” she told the Times. “They were very discreet.”
The agents had their Service-issued Sig Sauer P229 pistols “squared away” in a safe room at the hotel, along with their badges, handcuffs and radios before embarking on the boozefest, sources said.
They were armed only with blackberries — which are not used for classified communication — and had not yet received Obama’s detailed itinerary.
King confirmed that the “cheap” agent who fought with the hooker was apparently still drunk the next morning - a potential security threat.
“The belief is that he got into the fight about the pay because he was still drunk,” King said. “Whatever his role, the allegations are that he was impaired that day, the day before the President arrived and pre-work was to be done.”
Eleven agents and nine military servicemen - most of them married - are under investigation for carousing with 20 or 21 hookers during the trip.
To make sure such shenanigans don’t happen again, the Secret Service is exploring the creation of an outside review panel.
And though there is no suggestion that the women were anything but sex workers, authorities are doing background checks on them in case they had any contacts with foreign intelligence services, terrorists or narcotraffickers.
Federal officials in Washington and fixers on the street in Cartagena alike treated recent reports of cocaine use by the agents with skepticism.
A law enforcement source said investigators interviewed the hotel maids who cleaned all of the agents’ rooms — and not one found drugs or drug paraphernalia.
“People here are hungry, poor. They'd tell you anything for a few pesos,” said Cartagena cabbie Rodrigo Rodriguez, who brings customers to hookers.