Report doesn't find sexual misconduct norm at agency
WASHINGTON — A long-awaited report analyzing the male-dominated culture of the Secret Service has concluded that the elite law enforcement agency does not have a widespread problem with its employees engaging in sexual misconduct while on official business.
The findings of the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general come 1 1⁄2 years after more than a dozen Secret Service agents and officers were implicated in a prostitution scandal on President Obama's trip to Cartagena, Colombia. Congress requested the report after agency officials testified that the behavior was an aberration and not indicative of a broader institutional lack of control and accountability within the agency.
The report determined that there have been isolated cases of misbehavior, and investigators recommended that the Secret Service implement 14 new guidelines to identify and address misconduct by employees. Investigators said the agency has implemented 11 of the recommendations.
“Although individual employees have engaged in misconduct or inappropriate behavior, we did not find evidence that misconduct is widespread in USSS,” the Office of the Inspector General's report concluded, according to a copy obtained late Thursday by The Washington Post. “Furthermore, we did not find any evidence that USSS leadership has fostered an environment that tolerates inappropriate behavior.”
The report warned, however, that the agency “should continue to monitor and address excessive alcohol consumption and personal conduct within its workforce.”
Investigators highlighted a 2010 incident that was “similar to Cartagena but was not thoroughly investigated.” In that case, an agent was alleged to have consorted with foreign prostitutes while on an international trip and returned to work after a long absence, smelling of alcohol, according to his colleagues.
“Both incidents occurred while employees were off duty supporting a presidential protective visit in a foreign country,” the report said. “Individuals consumed alcohol; interacted with ⅛female foreign nationals; and were untruthful when initially questioned by managers.”
The broad findings are expected to be criticized by some in Congress because the report hinges on an anonymous survey of employees and because they were issued by an office that is itself under investigation for impropriety.