In defense of the Colombian prostitute who blew the whistle on President Obama’s Secret Service staff last month, she probably mistook her customer and his colleagues for just another group of drunken Shriners.
That’s how they were behaving, anyway. Mistakenly identified in early (and rampant!) press reports as the President’s bodyguards, the eleven Secret Service agents were, in fact, there in Cartagena, Colombia, to arrange security prior to Obama’s arrival for a Summit of the Americas. But, it was their late-night hi-jinks with nearly two dozen prostitutes that we, and every other nation with access to the Internet, have since heard about – endlessly and repeatedly. When one of the agents refused to pay a prostitute who’d spent the night with him at the Hotel Caribe, she called the cops (who apparently protect, rather than bust, hookers in Colombia). A police officer forced the john to pay, and later identified him and several others to the press as American Secret Service agents. The cadre was sent back home with their security clearances revoked, but, by then, the damage was done: Latin America’s opinion of the U.S. was further tarnished, which isn’t exactly what our leader was there to accomplish.
The White House spin doctors have since been doing double duty trying to assure Americans that this is not a story of espionage or blackmail, just plain old bad behavior on the part of our occasionally drunken Secret Service. Overlooked in all official presidential press releases has been the possibility that the agents’ misdeeds might have compromised national secrets or the safety of our president. Hey, they’re just Secret Service agents, not the guy who designed Michelle Obama’s fetching new hairdo. Right?
Consorting with prostitutes is, after all, an American political tradition. Elliot Spitzer, anyone? How about Barney Frank? Why should we expect the men assigned to protect the president, his family and several of our nation’s top leaders to take seriously their oath to maintain any type of professional integrity? And, why, at a time when the nation is divided in its support of our current president in the thick of a heated re-election race, should his staff behave in any way other than disgracefully?