In just one night, 11 Secret Service agents who allegedly brought prostitutes to their hotel rooms in Cartagena, Columbia, where they were supposed to be protecting President Barack Obama, managed to shame not just their agency, but also the whole of America. This incident should not simply be swept under the rug and those agents involved deserve punishment.
Commenting on the scandal, President Obama said he expected the agents and military personnel in his entourage to behave with "the utmost dignity and probity" while overseas.
"Obviously what's been reported doesn't match up with those standards," he told a news conference in Cartagena, a Caribbean coastal city known for its beachfront and night life. "If it turns out that some of the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed, then of course I'll be angry."
Fortunately, President Obama was in no danger as the 11 men allegedly involved in the incident were sent back home the night before the president arrived in Columbia for the three day Americas Summit.
The agents did not only have a drunken night out that breached curfew rules but also threatened to overshadow the President’s agenda as most of the media attention turned to them. And in the streets of Cartagena, a resort city with a teeming prostitution trade, there was condemnation for the Secret Service agents for what residents saw as abusing their station and dishonoring their country.
Adding to the shame is the manner in which the scandal came to light. The agents are accused of bringing prostitutes back to the luxury Hotel Caribe in Cartagena and throwing a room-trashing tantrum when confronted about not paying one of them for her services.
The Secret Service must protect the integrity of their families and country. They must face punishments.