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New code of conduct issued for Secret Service agents

(CBS News) The U.S. Secret Service is laying down the law with tough new standards of conduct for its employees.

Today deputy director AT Smith e-mailed a memo to all employees reminding them of the five core values of the Secret Service and instituting strict new rules for conduct in reaction to the Secret Service scandal in Cartagena, Colombia.

The memo directs employees to "always conduct yourselves in a manner that reflects credit on you, the Secret Service, the Department of Homeland Security, and - most importantly - the United States Government and the citizens that we serve."

Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan
Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan CBS

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The new enhanced standards of conduct "effective immediately", include mandatory ethics training in a classroom setting for Secret Service employees, a ban patronization of "non-reputable establishments" like strip clubs, and a requirement that no foreign nationals enter a hotel room.

In terms of alcohol, it may only be consumed in moderate amounts while off duty on-assignment and a new 10-hour sobriety rule will be instated. Previously employees were not able to drink 6 hours before a shift started.

Two GS-15 level senior supervisors will also chaperone all support teams who travel in advance of the president in "car planes" that carry the president's vehicles and communications equipment.

The new standards have been added to the official USSS guidebook. The enhanced standards were sent today to all agents and uniform personnel.

The guidelines include:

  • foreign nationals with exception of hotel staff and official counterparts are not permitted in hotel rooms.
  • Alcohol is allowed to be consumed only in moderate amounts when an agent is off duty and prohibited within 10 hours of reporting for duty.
  • Alcohol may not be consumed at protective hotel once protected visit has begun.
  • On car planes that is military transports traveling overseas two GS 15 supervisors must be on board including one supervisor from the USSS office of responsibility.
  • All laws of United States shall apply to Secret Service agents while abroad.

The guidelines come after a scandal involving President Obama's recent trip to Colombia. Of the 12 Secret Service agents 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. Another 12 military members from four branches of services are also being investigated in connection with the prostitution incident.

The Secret Service is also looking into reports that Secret Service agents were involved with strippers during President Obama's March 2011 visit to El Salvador. That incident was first reported by CBS Affiliate KIRO-Seattle.

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