(CNSNews.com)- Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Wednesday she believed the Colombian prostitution scandal involving the Secret Service did not result in a breach of security for the president during his visit, but that the behavior of the Secret Service agents indicated “there may be a risk” of such a breach.
During the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) questioned Napolitano on the potential dangers of the incident.
“For instance, had the prostitutes had connections with Colombian criminal networks or foreign intelligence services--I’m not saying that it did--but it seems like that it’s the kind of behavior that would render an agent vulnerable to blackmail and influence if criminal networks and foreign intelligence services were aware of it and that is a potential avenue for compromise of the president’s security,” Whitehouse said.
Napolitano responded, “We are still completing the entire investigation and there are still interviews to be conducted but I think we have planned to keep the committee briefed on what we find and whether there could be on a future basis that kind of risk but—“
“It’s certainly a risk,” Whitehouse interrupted.
“As I testified earlier,” Napolitano continued, “The first question that I posed to the director (Mark Sullivan) was - was there any breach to the president’s security in this instance? And the answer was no.”
“But there was a risk of breach along those lines if those connections existed, correct?” Whitehouse pressed.
“There may be a risk and that’s why this behavior cannot be tolerated,” Napolitano concluded.
A total of eight Secret Service agents have either left or lost their jobs because of the incident, which took place in Cartagena, Colombia just before President Obama arrived for the Summit of the Americas.
The agents and twelve members of the US military are accused of engaging in a night of partying with Colombian prostitutes and bringing them back with them to their hotel rooms.