King: Secret Service studies prostitute interviews

Updated at 11 a.m. ET

(CBS/AP) The Secret Service is poring over interviews with 10 of 12 women involved in the Colombia prostitution scandal and so far there's no indication that any posed a national security threat, House Homeland Security Committee Peter King told CBS News.

The Secret Service was still translating the interviews with the women, but it appears they had no links to any narco-terrorist gangs or terrorist groups. Additionally, it does not appear that any information compromised, King said -- no sensitive documents were in the hotel rooms at the time the women were there, and all BlackBerries were accounted for.

The information came in response to 50 questions King sent the Secret Service after the scandal erupted last month. Other House and Senate committees also are seeking information, including the timeline of the events in Cartagena, Colombia, and details about allegations in other cities and whether the Secret Service culture permitted or encouraged such behavior.

As bad as this incident was, Secret Service supervisors acted quickly and effectively, and it does not appear security compromised in any way even, King told CBS News -- even though it could have been a disaster, putting the president's security at risk.

King said that it appears no government funds were used to pay for the prostitutes, and there was no use of any type of government funding or support involved, other than the fact that they were in the agents' hotel rooms.

The letter from the agency revealed that Director Mark Sullivan asked for an independent probe before the scandal became public, King told the Associated Press.

"That's important because obviously he wasn't trying to cover it up," he said.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told The Associated Press in New Zealand, where she was visiting, that the Secret Service has found no basis to allegations its agents hired strippers and prostitutes in El Salvador last year.

The Secret Service has issued only limited public statements since the April 12 incident in Cartagena, which implicated a dozen agents, officers and supervisors and 12 other U.S. military personnel in a night of heavy drinking in Cartagena before President Barack Obama's visit to the Summit of the Americas. Some were accused of bringing prostitutes back to their hotel rooms.

The Secret Service has forced eight employees from their jobs and was seeking to revoke the security clearance of another employee, which would effectively force him to resign. Three others have been cleared of serious wrongdoing. The military was conducting its own, separate investigation but canceled the security clearances of all 12 enlisted personnel.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., told reporters last week that he expects the Pentagon investigation to wrap up this week and had scheduled a briefing on its findings on Tuesday.

But the president's elite protective agency has drawn the most scrutiny, and Sullivan has labored to answer lawmakers' questions in many cases before they are asked. On Friday, the Secret Service announced that a chaperone would travel on all overseas trips, alcohol consumption was prohibited 10 hours before shifts and that foreign nationals were not permitted in hotel rooms.

The inspector general for the Homeland Security Department has launched an investigation into whether classified information was compromised during the Cartagena incident, as well as examining whether Secret Service has a "cultural problem" where such behavior has been tolerated by the head office, according to two congressional staffers who were briefed on the investigation. The process is expected to take about a year.

Both staffers spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak publicly about an ongoing investigation.

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