CARTAGENA, Colombia — President Obama today called for a “thorough” and “rigorous” investigation following the scandal surrounding the Secret Service officials tasked with his protection.
“What happened here in Colombia is being investigated by the director of the Secret Service. I expect that investigation to be thorough and I expect it to be rigorous,” the president told reporters in his first public reaction to the controversy.
“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,” he said.
Eleven secret service personnel and five military service members have been accused of misconduct, including cavorting with prostitutes and excessive drinking, ahead of the president’s trip here this weekend.
The misconduct is being scrutinized by the Secret Service and the military, and has prompted calls for a Congressional investigation.
“My attitude with respect to the Secret Service personnel is no different than I expect out of my delegation that’s sitting here,” Obama said at a joint press conference with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia.
“We’re representing the people of the United States, and when we travel to another country I expect us to observe the highest standards because we’re not just representing ourselves,” he said. “We’re here on behalf of our people and that means that we conduct ourselves with the utmost dignity and probity. And obviously what’s been reported doesn’t match up with those standards.”
Obama added that he will “wait until the full investigation is completed until I pass judgment.”
The scandal has largely upstaged the Summit of the Americas, which ended today without a joint declaration in part because the 33 leaders present disagreed over whether Cuba should be invited to following summits in the hemisphere.