Reporting Mary Bubala
WASHINGTON (WJZ) — It was the scandal that rocked the Secret Service. Agents caught with prostitutes.
As Mary Bubala reports, for the first time, one is speaking out about what happened and why he feels they are being treated unfairly.
“Clearly what happened in Cartagena, the behavior that was exhibited down there, is not something that meets the expectations of the American people,” said Gregory Stokes, Secret Service.
Gregory Stokes is one of the agents caught up in the prostitution scandal. It happened last year, before President Obama arrived for the Summit of the Americas.
Stokes and 10 other agents invited prostitutes to their rooms. Prostitution is legal in Columbia and not specifically prohibited by Secret Service regulations at the time.
“A bunch of agents who were not specifically assigned to duty at a given time were on their own time, we went out and met some women, brought them back to their rooms, did what they did and said ‘see you later,’” he said.
But one of the prostitutes demanded more money from an agent. There was a loud argument, police were called and soon the press found out.
Stokes and the other agents understood they had violated an unwritten code: never embarrass the Secret Service nor the White House.
Six of them, including Stokes, remain suspended without pay indefinitely. Now they say they are being denied due process.
“They are trying to starve us out. They are trying to put us in a sort of limbo in hopes that we’ll quit and go away,” Stokes said.
For Stokes, it’s not just that he and the other agents are in hot water, it’s about who he says is not in hot water.
Stokes believes the Department of Homeland Security inspector general left two people out of the final report: a Secret Service executive and a volunteer White House staffer who was also the son of a powerful Washington lobbyist.
Stokes says there was evidence they also had prostitutes in their rooms, at the very hotel where the president was going to stay.
The White House, Secret Service and DHS say those allegations were thoroughly investigated and are unfounded.