Issa: No Secret Service "pre-wheels up" parties


(CBS News) The Secret Service scandal that rocked the agency over the weekend may have revealed something about the agency's culture, but it went far beyond what's acceptable, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said Monday.

It's not unheard of for agents to have "wheels up parties" when the president is on his way home from a trip, Issa, chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said on "CBS This Morning." At that point, he said, "you can sort of let your hair down."

This was a case, however, of a "pre-wheels up party," Issa said.

Over the weekend, 11 Secret Service agents were put on leave after an incident in Cartagena, Colombia, in which at least one prostitute was hired. The agents were working in advance of President Obama's visit to Colombia for the Summit of the Americas.

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"You had drinking and activity that clearly compromised the ring of security," Issa said. The agents allegedly brought the prostitute into a secure area, which left them vulnerable to espionage or blackmail.

Not only did the incident create immediate security threats, but it also could have created problems decades down the road, Issa said.

"What we're concerned about is that failure today can lead to blackmail 5, 10, 20 years from now," he said. "People who have betrayed their country in the past have started off thinking rather benignly. If you think of how you get somebody to do something wrong, you do it incrementally... In 10 years from now, will that behavior change because they've moved up in rank? I don't think it will."

Issa said his committee won't be launching an investigation into the matter yet but would "look over the shoulder of the inspector general" to verify any investigations are performed rigorously.