Just when you thought the Secret Service prostitution scandal would fade away, director Mark Sullivan (pictured above) will get to talk to a Senate committee today about his fired agents' new claims that they didn't do anything unusual for the "secret circus." That confidence-inspiring nickname refers to "what happened any time a large group of agents descended on a city," CBS's Bill Plante reports. And Cartagena, Colombia, was pretty much the big top.
Secret Service, military, and DEA agents all face scandal from their cluster-fun there, mostly in the days preceding President Barack Obama's visit last month. The Secret Service fired eight agents in the aftermath, and thought it had at least put the disciplinary scandal to bed.
But as The Washington Post's Carol D. Leonnig and David Nakamura reported Tuesday night, at least four of those agents are now fighting to get their jobs back, saying their behavior either didn't violate Secret Service guidelines or that it tacitly allowed it. One agent now says "he did not think at the time that the two women he brought back to his hotel room were prostitutes," Leonnig and Nakamura report. And "current and former agency employees say sexual encounters during official travel had been condoned under an unwritten code that allows what happens on the road to stay there."
This push-back from the agents is going to be a whole new headache for the agency, starting with Sullivan's Senate testimony, where he'll make the case that while the prostitution scandal represents bad behavior, it did not make for a security breach.