(WASHINGTON) — Washington has begun asking if the Secret Service needs more women in the organization in the wake of the prostitution scandal in Cartagena, Colombia, that has led to six agents being fired or resigning.
The call comes after it became public on Saturday that a woman named Paula Reid, who heads the Miami field office for the Secret Service, which also overseas South America, was the supervisor who moved quickly to contain last week’s incident.
Eleven agents were pulled from their assignments as part of the advance staff preparing for President Obama’s trip to Cartagena after allegations emerged that one of the agents had a dispute over payment with a prostitute.
“I can’t help but wonder if there’d been more women as part of that detail if this ever would have happened,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) during an appearance on ABC News’ This Week on Sunday.
While Reid wasn’t in charge of Obama’s security detail, she was the agent who notified Washington about the incident. Sources say it was ultimately the decision of Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan to pull the men out of Colombia.
“I can’t help but keep asking this question, ‘Where are the women?’” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) on This Week. “We probably need to diversify the Secret Service and have more minorities and more women.”
Secret Service officials insist that there are plenty of women in key roles. Currently, there are at least two deputy assistant directors — the head of the legal department, and the head of the Paris field office — who are women.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire