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Joint Chiefs Chairman 'Embarrassed' Over Secret Service Scandal

Joint Chiefs Chairman 'Embarrassed' Over Secret Service Scandal
4/17/2012 11:37 AM ET

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he's embarrassed by the incident involving Secret Service and U.S. Military personnel in Cartagena, Colombia this past week. The General gave remarks at a briefing with Secretary Panetta on Monday.

"We're embarrassed by what occurred in Colombia, though we're not sure exactly what it is, but what we do know is that we distracted - that several of our members distracted the issue from what was a very important regional engagement for our president. So we let the boss down, because nobody's talking about what went on in Colombia other than this incident," Dempsey said.

Department of Defense investigators allege as many as 20 U.S. Secret Service and military personnel may have been involved in misconduct at a hotel in Cartagena, Colombia. The scandal hit breaking news over the weekend during President Obama's trip to Colombia for the Summit of the Americas. The scandal had high-level officials focusing on responding instead of on the vital issues facing the summit.

According to a review of video from hotel security cameras, DoD investigators found nine military personnel possibly involved in misconduct at the center of the scandal. Eleven Secret Service agents have been placed on leave due to accusations they entertained prostitutes at the hotel, rising the status of the incident to one of the most serious lapses at the Secret Service in years.

"The investigation's ongoing. It'll chart a path for us. And we'll hold those accountable if it turns out that they violated orders or policies or laws," Dempsey said on Monday.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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