Fri April 27, 2012
Secret Service Tightens Conduct Rules Following Prostitution Scandal
Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 6:53 pm
The fallout from the Secret Service prostitution scandal in Colombia continues: Now the Secret Service says it is tightening and clarifying its policies for traveling employees.
NPR's Tamara Keith spoke to a Secret Service spokesperson who says the Secret Service leadership detailed the new rules in an internal message regarding personal conduct sent to all employees.
The new policy covers alcohol consumption and what types of businesses employees can patronize, Tamara tells our Newscast unit. "The Agency is also adding additional briefings on standards of conduct."
As we reported, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano pledged on Wednesday that "the investigation into Secret Service agents who allegedly hired prostitutes this month in Cartagena, Colombia, 'will be complete and thorough and we will leave no stone unturned.'"
The additions to the personal conduct policy comes a day after a CBS/KIRO-TV report alleged Secret Service employees had engaged with prostitutes during a trip to El Salvador in March of 2011. Like the trip to Colombia, the employees were part of an advance team preparing for the arrival of President Obama.
The Secret Service said yesterday that it would look into new allegations if they were "assessed as credible."
Update at 5:36 p.m. ET. Some New Rules:
Among the rules detailed in the policy:
"Foreign nationals, excluding hotel staff and official counterparts, are prohibited in your hotel room.
"Patronization of non-reputable establishments is prohibited.
"Alcohol may only be consumed in moderate amounts while off-duty on a TDY assignment and alcohol use is prohibited within 10 hours of reporting for duty.
"Alcohol may not be consumed at the protectee hotel once the protective visit has begun."
This rule applies to "to foreign car plane staffing:
"Laws of the United States shall apply to Secret Service personnel while abroad."
The rules also state that the Department of State will "will update personnel on safety issues, off-limit zones and off-limit establishments for USSS personnel, and any country-specific rules imposed by the Ambassador."
Update at 5:32 p.m. ET. 'Highest Standards':
We're parsing the new "enhanced standards of conduct," which in the internal memo Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan says is effective immediately.
Here's a bit of what's in that memo:
"The inherent respect conferred upon you as a Secret Service employee carries with it the responsibility - in both your personal and professional life - to always conduct yourself in a manner that reflects the highest standards of the United States Government. Although managers have an explicit role to prevent and address issues of misconduct, all employees have a continuing obligation to confront expected abuses or perceived misconduct. In short, consider your conduct through the lens of the past several weeks."
Update at 5:29 p.m. ET. Ethics Training:
In addition to the new policy, the Secret Service says it is scheduling "Ethics in Law Enforcement" training sessions. "Over 100 U.S. Secret Service personnel are scheduled to take this class. Several additional 'ethics' training courses will be held throughout the remainder of the year," the USSS said in an email to reporters.