(WASHINGTON) — The Secret Service will announce Tuesday night that two more agents are resigning under pressure as a result of the Cartagena, Colombia, prostitute scandal, and that the process has begun for a third employee to leave, ABC News has learned. Two others have been cleared.
Six Secret Service employees, including two supervisors, have already been forced out of the agency as a result of an investigation into a night of partying in Cartagena before President Obama’s arrival, in which they allegedly drank heavily and mingled with prostitutes.
The Secret Service had said 12 employees were being investigated, and the military said another 12 of its service members were being looked at, too.
Republicans have tried to tie Obama to the scandal by arguing that he oversees government operations. White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday that Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan didn’t offer to resign when he briefed Obama recently on the investigation.
In an effort to cleanse itself from the scandal, Carney also announced that a White House lawyer conducted an internal and official review of Obama’s “advance team” in Colombia over the weekend, and that the review found nothing improper to report. But Carney declined to discuss any details of the process, such as how many people were interviewed.
“I don’t think it’s useful to get into the details of how the review was conducted,” Carney said.
The press secretary’s refusal to talk about the review he himself announced sparked indignation among Capitol Hill Republicans, some of whom are already busy investigating the General Services Administration for a spending scandal.
Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Tuesday called for an investigation of White House staff members to be done by someone not in the White House.
“I’m not going to be satisfied until we get some independent look at this,” the Iowa senator said.
Carney said Tuesday that he hadn’t seen a letter from Grassley asking for details of the White House’s review.
“I have no response to that letter,” he said.
Obama called the agents who were implicated “knuckleheads” in an interview with the late-night comedian Jimmy Fallon.
“The Secret Service — these guys are incredible,” Obama said. “They protect me. They protect our girls. A couple of knuckleheads shouldn’t detract from what they do. What these guys were thinking, I don’t know. That’s why they’re not there anymore.”
The Defense Department confirmed Monday that the latest military member to be investigated in the scandal works for the White House Communications Agency, a military group that gives information to the president and his staff members.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire