White House: We’re Clean in Prostitution Scandal
(WASHINGTON) -- The White House on Monday tried to halt a ballooning Secret Service scandal involving the alleged hiring of prostitutes by saying it had reviewed "advance team" members who were in Colombia before President Obama's arrival and determined they had done nothing wrong. But the White House refused to share details of the review.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said that last Friday a White House lawyer began an investigation of the team members who were in Cartagena during the prostitution scandal, and that it found "no indication of any misconduct" by the White House team.
The decision to review the advance team was made by the White House counsel and the chief of staff's office, Carney said. He declined to confirm how many interviews were undertaken or any other details. "I don't think it's useful to get into the details of how the review was conducted," Carney said.
"I don't have, and I'm not going to give you, a blow-by-blow of what is involved in the review," said Carney.
Carney was pressed about a report on the news website Nextgov that said a person in the White House Communications Agency, a military group that informs the president and his staff members, was under investigation. He declined to answer questions about it, saying they were for the Defense Department instead.
Carney also lashed out against "rumors" on the Internet published by writers "with no editors and no conscience."
"If someone comes to us with some credible allegation that anybody at the White House was involved in any inappropriate conduct, I'm sure that we'll look at it, but there isn't that," he said. "There is an attempt by some to throw rumors out there."
Of the "communications agency," Carney said that "these are military personnel staffed by the military."
"They are not members of the White House staff," he said. "They are not chosen by the White House senior staff."
Members of Congress investigating the agents' trip to Colombia have speculated that more employees would be fired and wondered whether White House staff was involved.
Six Secret Service employees, including two supervisors, have already lost their jobs as a result of an investigation into a night out in Cartagena in which agents drank heavily and mingled with prostitutes before a visit by President Obama.
The Secret Service said last week that 12 employees had been "implicated" in the investigation, and the military said 11 of its service members are being investigated.
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