Secret Service scandal focus now on Capitol Hill

(CBS News) WASHINGTON - The Secret Service says it's dealt with all 12 agents linked to the prostitution scandal in Colombia.

And their ultimate boss, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, is scheduled to testify Wednesday in front of a Senate panel looking into the matter. Her department oversees the Secret Service.

For the first time since the day after the scandal came to light in Colombia, President Obama addressed it in an interview on NBC's "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon."

"The scandal happens with the Secret Service... " Fallon suggested.

"A little distracting!" Mr. Obama observed.

That distraction may be nearing an end.

Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan went to Capitol Hill Tuesday to report on his investigation and to brief senators on the sanctions handed down.

Of the 12 people probed in connection with the scandal, six have resigned. One was allowed to retire; one has been fired but can still appeal. Another has had his security clearance revoked but could appeal the revocation and would lose his job should that appeal be denied. And three have been cleared of serious wrongdoing.

The Secret Service is still conducting lie detector tests to assess what happened before the president arrived in Colombia.

Mr. Obama remained supportive of the men and women who have pledged to take a bullet for him, saying "A couple of knuckleheads shouldn't detract from what they do. But what these guys were thinking, I don't know. That's why they're not there anymore."

Sullivan has told lawmakers that, when everything is complete, he expects to testify and give a full and transparent account of what occurred at the Caribe and Hilton hotels in Cartagena.

The military is still dealing with its half of this scandal. There are now 12 members of the armed forces who have had their security clearances suspended while that part of the investigation continues.

Lawmakers tell CBS News that, on the whole, they give Sullivan high marks for how he has handled the incident. But congressional hearings are just getting started, and some of the people who were pressured to resign may choose to fight instead. So, the end of this process may not be in sight.

  • Bill Plante

    Bill Plante is a CBS News Senior White House Correspondent

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