McCain seeks more information on Colombia scandal

Sen. John McCain
Sen. John McCain

(CBS News) Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona said the amount of information he is receiving on the Colombian misconduct scandal is lacking and "unacceptable."

"We need to know the facts," McCain said. "We need to know the impact of this potential misconduct....Yet, we are being denied access to the information we need in order to make informed judgments or take needed actions. This is entirely unacceptable."

McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Service Committee, and his colleague Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), who chairs the same committee, received a briefing Wednesday by the Department of Defense on the Colombian incident 12 Department of Defense service members.

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The Secret Service acted quickly by opening investigations into twelve Secret Service personnel for their actions.

McCain said that the Department of Defense officials tasked with providing the briefing "were woefully unprepared."

"Unfortunately, nearly two weeks after the events in Colombia, the briefers sent by the Department of Defense were woefully unprepared to answer even the most basic questions about what happened in Cartagena, and provided appallingly little new information other than the mechanics and timeline of the ongoing investigation," Senator McCain said. "The Department of Defense briefers did not even know the date the president arrived or the name of the senior military commander on the ground in Cartagena."

Pentagon spokesman Captain John Kirby acknowledged Senator McCain's concerns.

"We recognize that Sen. McCain is seeking more information about allegations surrounding US service members in Cartagena, and we will continue to keep him and other members of Congress as informed as possible as the investigation proceeds," Kirby told CBS News.

McCain said he is keeping options open for Senate hearings.

"I intend to explore all available means for this Committee to obtain the information we need to perform our obligations," McCain said.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who oversees the Secret Service, briefed the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. She said the incident in Colombia involving the Secret Service is "inexcusable."

Below watch Sen. McCain discuss the Secret Service scandal


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    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.