Published June 15, 2012
The federal government released details Friday of allegations against the Secret Service for roughly the past eight years – ranging from more reports about employees involved with prostitutes to a bizarre claim that an agent implanted a chip in a victim’s brain.
The 229-page report by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general also included reports of Secret Service agents involved in leaking sensitive information, publishing pornography, sexual assault, illegal wiretaps, improper use of weapons and drunken behavior.
It is not clear how many of the accusations on the heavily censored list were confirmed to be true.
The information was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request and release to several news organizations, including the Associated Press. It follows the Secret Service prostitution scandal that erupted in April in Colombia.
Some of the accusations occurred as recently as last month. In many cases, the government noted that some of the claims were resolved administratively, and others were being formally investigated.
The Secret Service responded by saying the document “simply reflects an intake log” received by the agency’s inspector general that in some way either mentions or refers to the Secret Service.
“The vast majority did not involve alleged misconduct by Secret Service agents or officers,” the agency said in a statement.
Even so, the agency said all allegations of employee misconduct – including those made on an anonymous hotline -- are “taken seriously and fully investigated."
Maine Sen. Susan Collins, the ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, acknowledged some of the charges proved to be unfounded or frivolous, but she said others appear to be legitimate.
“That adds to my concern about apparent misconduct by some of the personnel of this vital law enforcement agency,” she said.
The new disclosure, which includes many serious accusations, appears to lend weight to concerns expressed by Collins and other members of Congress that the recent prostitution scandal exposed a culture of misconduct within the Secret Service.
Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan apologized for the Colombia incident during a hearing in May, but he insisted that what happened in April was an isolated case.
The complaints revealed Friday included an alleged sexual assault reported in August 2011. In the heavily censored entry, an employee was accused of pushing a woman who also worked for the agency onto a bed during a work trip.
The employee "got on top of (censored) attempting to have sex," even though the woman "told (censored) `no' several times." The entry noted that supervisors described the accused as "a conscientious and dependable employee."
The incident was closed with an "administrative disposition" in February.
They also included an anonymous complaint in October 2003 that a Secret Service agent "may have been involved with a prostitution ring," noting that two telephone numbers belonging to the agent, whose name was censored and who has since retired, turned up as part of an FBI investigation into a prostitution ring. In addition, in 2005, an employee was reported to the Washington field office for being arrested on a charge of solicitation in a park. Documents do not reveal the outcome of that case.
In 2008, an on-duty uniform division officer was arrested in a Washington prostitution sting. The officer, who was driving a marked Secret Service vehicle at the time, was placed on administrative leave, the records show. Sullivan said during the May hearing that the officer was later fired.
Other allegations include:
--October 2011: An employee was accused of sending harassing messages to a woman who interpreted them to be sexual harassment
--March 2011: A complaint was filed involving embezzlement or theft of public money. Nearly the entire entry was censored save for a notation that it was adjudicated by a judge.
--October 2010: An employee was implicated in a national security leak. The details were censored, and the records didn't include a disposition of the case.
--May 2012: An officer was videotaped, twice, wandering nude around an apartment complex.
--January 2011: Police in New York arrested an investigative support assistant on charges sexual abuse. The records do not list an outcome for the case.
--2005: An armed agent was accused of threatening to shut down a strip club because it was charging $40 for lap dances and $25 for table-side dances, which the agent said was against federal law. The incident was reported in May 2012.
Some of the allegations were obviously spurious, including the August 2010 one about a Secret Service agent who performed experiments and implanted stimulators in a citizen's brain.
A dozen Secret Service officers, agents and supervisors were implicated in the Colombia scandal and eight have been forced out of the agency. At least two employees are fighting to get their jobs back.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.