After receiving a briefing today from Department of Defense officials on their investigation into alleged misconduct by Secret Service and military personnel in Colombia, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., says there were "significant gaps" in the Pentagon chain of command in handling the incident. Levin chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"The investigation has found gaps, some significant gaps, that existed in a number of ways," Sen. Carl Levin said, ticking through the gaps as follows:
1. There was a failure to notify the chain of command of the assignment of certain personnel in their chain of command to Colombia.
2. There was a failure to notify the chain of command promptly of the events that took place in Colombia, including the decision to keep suspected people there. The Secret Service people were immediately sent back to the U.S., but the Department of Defense personnel who were suspected of misconduct were not.
3. The decision to keep those suspected personnel on the mission was made without the input of the higher-ups on the chain of command.
Levin said that the defense officials assured the senators today that the gaps would be "corrected."
Levin was briefed along with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the ranking Republican on the committee, for over an hour by DOD officials on the status of their investigation into the incident.
The senators said the investigation is "basically complete." They said that the Pentagon's Southern Command, which oversees operations in South America, should be releasing a statement soon with its report and recommendations as to whether or not there should be charges of misconduct against the 12 members of the military involved in the scandal.
The senators said the investigation also shows that "to date there is no evidence of additional risk to the security of the president or the presidential party or to the summit," Levin said.
McCain added that there were "no classified information or weapons" in the hotel in Cartagena, Colombia where the case began.