Suspended Secret Service agent says Obama security "not compromised"

(CBS News) -- It was a year ago that the US Secret Service was entangled in a sex scandal while President Barack Obama was planning a trip to Colombia.

Several members of an advance security team were accused of hiring prostitutes before the President arrived.

Suspended Secret Service agent Gregory Stokes.
CBS News

Of the 11 Secret Service agents caught up in the Cartagena scandal, six of them, a year later, find themselves still on indefinite suspension, without pay and without a hearing.

Gregory Stokes is the first of the agents to speak publicly. He says the agents were in a foreign country where using an escort service is legal, and at the time, was not specifically prohibited by Secret Service regulations.

John Miller: What happened down there?

Gregory Stokes: What happened down there was a bunch of agents who were not specifically assigned to duty at a given time, were on their own time, went out and met some women, brought them back to their rooms, did what they did and said, "see ya later."

Miller: What was the first thing that came to your notice that there was trouble?

File photo of the Hotel Caribe in Cartagena, Colombia, where US Secret Service agents stayed in April 2012.
Manuel Pedraza/AFP/GettyImages)

Stokes: We were called to - to go over to the President's hotel which is over a mile away from our hotel.

Miller: And what were you told?

Stokes: Initially, I was under the impression that, a counter-assault team agent had gotten some sort of - a dispute with a girl - and that we were going to be questioned about that incident. It very quickly became obvious that - that I was one of the targets.

Miller: And that was about whether or not you brought a prostitute into your room?

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(Left: Prostitution scandal hurts Colombian city.)

Stokes: I think the best way to answer that, John, is this. The government has a right to investigate me and other people. To every extent necessary to ensure that safety and security of the President was not compromised, that the conditions of our security clearance weren't compromised. And that operational security was adhered to. And - my answer to your question - is all those conditions - were met.

The Secret Service agents have had hearings about revocation of their security clearances but they haven't had a hearing about their future employment.

It is clear the Secret Service is moving towards terminating the agents but they are saying other agents have been accused of worse, have been suspended and been brought back to work.

They're starting to go public because they say there's a lot more to tell about this story.

You can see more of John Miller's interview with Gregory Stokes Thursday morning on "CBS This Morning."

  • John Miller

    John Miller is a senior correspondent for CBS News, with extensive experience in intelligence, law enforcement and journalism, including stints in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the FBI.