OTR Interviews

Secret Service sex scandal: Do roads lead to White House?

White House says its advance team wasn't involved in inappropriate activity as part of Secret Service prostitution scandal


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 23, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: And now to the Secret Service prostitution scandal. Were any White House staffers involved? Senator Chuck Grassley wants to know.


VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, nice to see you, sir.

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY, R-IOWA: I'm always glad to be on your program.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, you've written a letter to the White House asking for an investigation. What investigation do you want, sir?

GRASSLEY: It's the same natural extension, a logical extension of what we're worried about with the Secret Service. The Secret Service is investigating the use of prostitutes by their own agents down in Colombia. OK, so you probably know that the Secret Service works very closely with some people from Defense Department that are assigned to the White House and work with communication people at the White House and advance people at the White House. We need to know for sure that what went on within the Secret Service, the 11, 12, 13 people, was any of that shenanigans going on at the White House. So that is the purpose of the letter.

VAN SUSTEREN: I assume you would agree nobody has greater interest in making sure that the White House is not involved than the White House itself. The president essentially -- the greatest goal of the Secret Service is to protect the president?

GRASSLEY: And, of course, that is what this is all about, to make sure that the president is properly protected in the future. Is this part of the culture of the Secret Service? Does the White House have the same problems. Is it just an isolated incident or has it been going on? You are worried about the protection of the president. Is there any national security issues involved?

VAN SUSTEREN: White House thinks it has done enough investigating. They're letting the Secret Service investigate its people, the military investigates its own people, and the White House thinks they have done enough to investigate their people.

GRASSLEY: I know they have announced that today. I sent the letter on Friday. They had Saturday and Sunday to investigate. They have come to the conclusion there are no problems. OK, the natural follow-up to that is, are they going to make it public? This administration announced three years ago they are going to be the most transparent of any administration in the history of our country. We need to know the results of this investigation.

But I also would add this, that they could have done a perfect job. There is nothing wrong, and I hope there is nothing wrong. But one of the ways to make sure there is credibility for everything is to let the office of inspector general or some independent person have access to it. Have a access to the people and ask the same questions they've asked, because I think we have every assurance when there is cooperation between the Secret Service, communication people, military people, advance people, between the White House and Secret Service, that everything is handled OK. And we don't want mistakes made by the Secret Service to show up at the White House because the closer you get to the presidency the more of a problem you have.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there anything in your mind as to why the White House, if they thought anyone on the White House staff on the advance team was in any way complicity with this? Do they have any incentive to not disclose it?

GRASSLEY: Then you get back to what the president has set the standard that he's going to be the most transparent administration. They have a responsibility to make all of this information and these details, let it out to the public and let the public make that judgment.

But I have suggested that, you know, it's a good thing to have inspectors general within our agencies -- in this case it would be Homeland Security because that is where the Secret Service is housed -- to also have a parallel investigation, just like presumably the Homeland Security I.G. is working with the Secret Service. And I think that is pretty important.

I'm also interested when it comes to the Defense Department investigating the Defense Department people, not just the people we've already talked about, but there are people assigned to the White House, particularly in communications from the Defense Department. It seems to me it's very important there to make sure the inspector general in the Department of Defense is involved in that investigation, because you need the independence of an inspector general's office to give credibility to it.

VAN SUSTEREN: So do you have a problem with the Defense Department is currently investigating the Defense Department on this, the Secret Service investigating the Secret Service on this, do you have a problem with?

GRASSLEY: No, but I want the inspector generals involved in it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have any reason to believe there is anything beyond what we know?


VAN SUSTEREN: Anything suspicious to you?

GRASSLEY: No, but you know director of the Secret Service has told us he is going to get to the bottom of it. What I think you have to be concerned is, is this an isolated incident of 12 or 13 people, a few people in the military making use of prostitutes, or is it part of culture of the organization? If it's part of the culture of the organization, it's deep- seated, and that is major problem to overcome. I've dealt with cultures of the Food and Drug Administration, the FBI, a lot of other government agencies in my investigations, and we need to make sure that this does go deeper. If it does go deeper, we have got major problems. And those major problems involve national security and may involve the protection of the president.

VAN SUSTEREN: And they also involves how the world looks at us a little bit in terms of we have our Secret Service partying when they should be protecting the president.


VAN SUSTEREN: This really shows something about the lack of discipline and seriousness of purpose, perhaps.

GRASSLEY: No, you are absolutely right. And you've also got what has been for 150 years as far as I know a pretty clean record for the Secret Service.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why did they break bad this time?

GRASSLEY: I don't know. That's why I'm very concerned that it's not part of the culture deeper down -- let's say hopefully this is an isolated incident. If it goes deeper then we have got major problems.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you, sir. Nice to see you.

GRASSLEY: Thank you. Glad to be with you.