Homeland Security Inspector Takes Charge of Secret Service Inquiry

Napolitano says her department will investigate the Colombia scandal thoroughly.

April 25, 2012, 11:42 AM

April 25, 2012 -- The Homeland Security Department's inspector general has taken charge of the investigation into the Colombia sex scandal that has resulted in several agents losing their jobs, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said today.

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Napolitano said the DHS inspector general's office will fully investigate the events of the night out in Colombia. The inspector general, Charles Edwards, is supervising the Secret Service investigation, she said.

DHS is the parent agency for the Secret Service.

Napolitano said her department "will leave no stone unturned" in its "full and thorough investigation" of the Secret Service agents who embarrassed the White House by mingling with prostitutes in Cartagena before Obama's arrival.

She said eight of the 12 Secret Service employees implicated in the scandal have lost their jobs, another is in the process of losing his security clearances, and the remaining three have been cleared of serious misconduct but still could be disciplined.

Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan, Napolitano said, "has the president's and my full confidence."

"The actions of a few will not tarnish the legacy of the Secret Service," she said. "There was no risk to the president. That was based on information provided to me by Director Sullivan."

President Obama called the agents who were implicated "knuckleheads" in an interview with the late-night comedian Jimmy Fallon Tuesday.

"The Secret Service -- these guys are incredible," Obama said. "They protect me. They protect our girls. A couple of knuckleheads shouldn't detract from what they do. What these guys were thinking, I don't know. That's why they're not there anymore."

Republicans have tried to tie Obama to the scandal by arguing that he oversees government operations.

White House press secretary Jay Carney announced that a White House lawyer conducted an internal and official review of Obama's "advance team" in Colombia and that the review found nothing improper to report.

Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Tuesday called for an investigation of White House staff members to be done by someone not in the White House.

"I'm not going to be satisfied until we get some independent look at this," the Iowa senator said.

Jake Tapper, Pierre Thomas, Ann Compton and Jason Ryan contributed reporting.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events