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Obama never in danger from Secret Service scandal: official

(Xinhua)

08:51, April 26, 2012

WASHINGTON, April 25 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama was never in danger because of a prostitution scandal involving Secret Service agents during a presidential trip to Colombia, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told lawmakers Wednesday.

Testifying at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Napolitano said "there was no risk to the president" stemming from the scandal, which took place in Colombia's Cartagena, where Obama attended a weekend summit.

According to U.S. media reports, the allegations related to activity involving prostitutes by 11 Secret Service agents before Obama's arrival on April 13.

Napolitano said the allegations were "inexcusable" and promised a "thorough and full investigation is under way."

So far, eight agents have been forced to leave the agency, and two have been cleared of misconduct. One other employee had his security clearance stripped, and can now appeal that decision. If the appeal is unsuccessful, he will lose his job because all agency personnel must have a security clearance.

Napolitano said the accused "have either faced personnel action or been cleared or serious misconduct," noting "we will not allow the actions of a few to tarnish the proud legacy of the Secret Service."

The Secret Service is tasked with protecting the president.

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