Harry Reid's recommendation to the Secret Service: "Hire more females"
(CBS News) Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday had a terse response when asked what should be done if the solicitation of prostitutes is a recurring problem at the Secret Service: "Hire more females."
Nearly two weeks after news broke of the Colombian prostitution scandal involving a dozen Secret Service agents, CBS affiliate KIRO-TV in Seattle reports that Secret Service agents may have solicited prostitutes in El Salvador last year ahead of a presidential trip there.
Secret Service officers have told congressional investigators they are looking into the KIRO report. "This certainly does not mean that there is any validity to [the report], just that they are looking into all allegations," House Homeland Security Committee Chair Peter King, R-N.Y., said.
Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas has requested another briefing with Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan in light of the report.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi today said she wasn't familiar with the latest developments, but she defended Sullivan, saying she has "great respect" for his leadership.
"He is a patriotic American committed to the protection of our president and those in the executive branch and it's hard, his reputation is such, it's hard to connect him with any culture of this kind," she told reporters. "Nonetheless, an investigation has to take place because first of all, whatever the agency of government this might be taking place in is disgusting."
Pelosi added, "That a few [agents] would tarnish and taint the image of this Secret Service in this way, in any way, but in this way is particularly disgusting, and that's what I have to say about that."
Meanwhile, Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said it concerns him that 24 hours after Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Congress the Colombia scandal was an isolated incident, there are reports of other incidents.
"That's why we need thorough investigation not just by the White House, not just by DHS, but by Congress -- that's part of our oversight responsibilities," he said. "It's an obligation we owe the American people. But I'm confident we will get to the bottom of this."
When asked today whether President Obama agrees with Reid's suggestion that the agency should hire more women, White House spokesman Jay Carney said, "This goes to a broader question about the nature of the agency, the culture of the agency. I think for now anyway, those questions are best addressed to the agency itself."
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