Two Secret Service agents assigned to the President’s detail are under investigation.  The investigation began after an incident at the Hay-Adams Hotel near the White House early this year.  One agent removed ammunition from his service weapon and left a bullet in the room of a female guest he had met in the hotel bar.  The agent then allegedly tried to regain access to the room when he realized he was missing a bullet.  Staff notified the White House after he identified himself as a Secret Service Agent and demanded to be let in to the room.  No police report or complaint was filed.

“The Secret Service takes allegations of improper behavior seriously and works diligently to investigate and resolve issues. Any misconduct is regrettable, but when it is identified, appropriate action is always taken based on established rules and regulations,” Edwin M. Donovan, deputy assistant director of the Secret Service, said in a statement.

An internal investigation was launched as the result of the Washington Post’s inquiries into the incident.  A federal law enforcement source confirmed to the media that the agent, a supervisor, and a second supervisor were discovered to have sent sexually suggestive e-mails to a female Secret Service employee, after a routine search of the agent’s government-issued BlackBerry.

Secret Service senior supervisor Ignacio Zamora Jr. “was allegedly discovered attempting to re-enter a woman’s room [at a Washington hotel] after accidentally leaving behind a bullet…” In a follow-up investigation, Zamora and another supervisor, Timothy Barraclough, were found to have sent sexual e-mails to a female subordinate.

The first supervisor was removed from his position.  There are conflicting reports as to whether the second supervisor remains on the President’s detail or was removed as well.  The new investigation follows a 2012 Colombian prostitution scandal involving the Secret Service.  That review prompted new rules of conduct for the Secret Service.  Sen. Ron Johnson said at a Senate hearing Thursday that despite assurances from Department of Homeland Security and Secret Service that the 2012 Cartagena scandal involving presidential detail agents was an anomaly, congress has found similar instances in 17 countries.

“Yesterday we learned that two senior level United States Secret Service agents assigned to the President’s detail were recently disciplined for sexual misconduct. According to whistle-blowers, one of these men helped lead the USSS internal investigation of the sexual misconduct in Cartagena in April of last year. This is like the fox guarding the hen house,” the Wisconsin Republican said, “This type of behavior jeopardizes the security of the President of the United States and makes U.S. government personnel susceptible to coercion and blackmail.”

Many lawmakers have lashed out at the atmosphere of the Secret Service, which seems to allow “morally repugnant” behavior.  William Hillsburg, acting director of the Public Affairs Department of the Homeland Security office of the inspector general, said that in the next couple of weeks he would be releasing an inspection report with an in-depth look at the culture of the Secret Service.  The report will look at whether there’s something in the Secret Service culture that leads to or permits this type of behavior.  It will also include recommendations.  The agency’s new director, , has vowed to change its culture.

None of the allegations appear to involve a breach of security.


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