No Foreign Nationals in Your Room: New Rules for Secret Service Agents

PHOTO: Members of the Secret Service and other staff walk behind Air Force One at Buckley Air Force Base, April 25, 2012 in Colorado.
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No more exotic strip clubs and nights of heavy drinking for Secret Service personnel on foreign trips. And inviting foreign nationals back to the hotel room is now definitely off-limits.

In the wake of a scandal involving prostitutes on a presidential trip to Colombia, Secret Service management this afternoon issued new regulations for agents on a foreign assignment.

The new rules say:

"Patronization of non-reputable establishments is prohibited.

"Alcohol may not be consumed at the protectee hotel once the protective visit has begun.

"Foreign nationals, excluding hotel staff and official counterparts, are prohibited in your hotel room."

"Alcohol may only be consumed in moderate amounts while off-duty on ... assignment and alcohol use is prohibited within 10 hours of reporting for duty."

Several Secret Service agents on a presidential trip to Colombia have lost their security clearances or their jobs over alleged misbehavior said to include heavy drinking at a sex club and hotel, and the use of prostitutes.

The behavior raised ethical and security questions about the agency charged with protecting the president.

House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King, R-N.Y., told ABC News the Secret Service is making it clear to agents that, "if you have any doubt, don't do it."

"They are putting regulations into writing that they thought agents should have known all along," King said.

King praised Secret Service director Mark Sullivan for his "swift and certain" action, and expressed confidence in the ongoing investigation into the scandal.

The new regulations also will require all agents to complete ethics training before being eligible for travel assignments.

In addition, agents will be briefed on standards of conduct before departing on a trip, and a supervisor from the Secret Service's Office of Responsibility will travel with all agency teams to make sure standards are observed.

Finally, the new regulations say that the laws of the United States shall apply to Secret Service personnel while abroad.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has been pushing for an independent investigation of the Colombia misbehavior, and suggested the new rules aren't a substitute for such an investigation.

"New conduct rules are necessary to preventing more shenanigans from happening in the future, and whether these are the best, and most cost effective, rules to stop future misconduct remains to be seen," he said in a written statement. "That's why a sheet of paper with new rules doesn't negate the previous actions, and why it remains necessary to hold the agency and the agents accountable, following a complete and independent investigation."

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