2012年4月24日火曜日

米政府 旅の恥はかき捨て

米政府も旅の恥はかき捨てのようだ。
 米シークレットサービス(SS)は、南米コロンビアのカルタヘナで開幕した
米州首脳会議に出席するオバマ大統領の警護を担当する11人を、職務から
外したことを明らかにした。

コロンビア警察当局等
・現地入りしていた先遣隊の警護員らが宿泊先のホテルに女性を連れ戻った。
 売春婦に$800の支払いで合意、しかし、$30しか支払わなかったため、
 口論となり、結局、警察の介入により、$225を支払った。
・スタッフが登録していない客を拒否し、警護員らが抵抗。

米政府
・申し立てられている不品行
・警護員11人を送還、軍職員5人(10人、内5人はグリンベレー)に謹慎処分
・警護員3人は移動(内一人には辞任)、8人以上は公休取得

米議会下院監視・政府改革委員会等
・4人を選定

 クリントン米国務長官が、米州首脳会議で訪れたカルタヘナのキューバ系
ナイトクラブで、上機嫌でビールをらっぱ飲みする写真が流出した。
バンド演奏に合わせ、マラカスを振りながら三曲踊った。

知合がいないので、旅の開放感から自由に振舞って、恥をかいてもその場
限りはヒラリーに当てはまり、羽目を外し警察沙汰になったSSや軍人は、
制裁を受けることになった。
もっとも、ヒラリーはマスメディアに追いかけられ、世界中に恥が残った。

上機嫌のヒラリーは、ビール瓶をラッパ飲みし、国歌斉唱より上機嫌で
カラオケを歌ったのだろうか。

盟主と呼ばれた米国も経済の衰退と共に影響力が減り、威信は影のように
なりつつある。

ヒラリー 世銀総裁に関心か


Hillary Clinton sings National Anthem


Swillary


---3 agents out in wake of Secret Service prostitution scandal; Romney pushes probe to campaign--
By Associated Press, Updated: Thursday, April 19, 9:37 AM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/3-agents-out-in-wake-of-secret-service-prostitution-scandal-romney-pushes-probe-to-campaign/2012/04/18/gIQAHNGpRT_story.html

WASHINGTON - Moving swiftly, the Secret Service forced out three agents Wednesday in a prostitution scandal that has embarrassed President Barack Obama. A senior congressman welcomed the move to hold people responsible for the tawdry episode but warned “it’s not over.”

The agency announced three agents are leaving the service even as separate U.S. government investigations were under way.
--
The Secret Service did not identify the agents being forced out of the government or eight more it said remain on administrative leave. In a statement, it said one supervisor was allowed to retire and another will be fired for cause. A third employee, who was not a supervisor, has resigned.

The agents were implicated in the prostitution scandal in Colombia that also involved about 10 military service members and as many as 20 women. All the Secret Service employees who were involved had their security clearances revoked.

“These are the first steps,” said Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, which oversees the Secret Service. King said the agency’s director, Mark Sullivan, took employment action against “the three people he believes the case was clearest against.” But King warned: “It’s certainly not over.”

King said the agent set to be fired would sue. King said Sullivan had to follow collective bargaining rules but was “moving as quickly as he can. Once he feels the facts are clear, he’s going to move.”

The embarrassing scandal erupted last week after 11 Secret Service agents were sent home from the colonial-era city of Cartagena on Colombia’s Caribbean coast after a night of partying that reportedly ended with at least some of them bringing prostitutes back to their hotel. The special agents and uniformed officers were in Colombia in advance of President Barack Obama’s arrival for the Summit of the Americas.

A White House official said Wednesday night that Obama had not spoken directly to Sullivan since the incident unfolded late last week. Obama’s senior aides are in close contact with Sullivan and the agency’s leadership, said the official, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

In Washington and Colombia, separate U.S. government investigations were already under way. King said he has assigned four congressional investigators to the probe. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, led by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., sought details of the Secret Service investigation, including the disciplinary histories of the agents involved. Secret Service investigators are in Colombia interviewing witnesses.

In a letter to Sullivan, Issa and Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the committee’s ranking Democrat, said the agents “brought foreign nationals in contact with sensitive security information.” A potential security breach has been among the concerns raised by members of Congress.

The incident occurred before Obama arrived and was at a different hotel than the president stayed in.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said news of the three agents leaving Secret Service was a positive development.

“I’ve always said that if heads don’t roll, the culture in a federal agency will never change,” the Iowa lawmaker said in a statement. “Today’s personnel actions, combined with the swift removal and investigation, are positive signs that there is a serious effort to get to the bottom of this scandal.”

New details of the sordid night emerged Wednesday. A 24-year-old self-described prostitute told The New York Times that she met an agent at a discotheque in Cartagena and after a night of drinking, the pair agreed the agent would pay her $800 for sex at the hotel. The next morning, when the hotel’s front desk called because the woman hadn’t left, the pair argued over the price.

“I tell him, ‘Baby, my cash money,’” the woman told the newspaper in an interview in Colombia. She said the two argued after the agent initially offered to pay her about $30 and the situation escalated, eventually ending with Colombian law enforcement involved. She said she was eventually paid about $225.

The tawdry episode took a sharp political turn when presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said he would fire the agents involved.

Romney told radio host Laura Ingraham on Wednesday that “I’d clean house” at the Secret Service.

“The right thing to do is to remove people who have violated the public trust and have put their play time and their personal interests ahead of the interests of the nation,” Romney said.

While Romney suggested to Ingraham that a leadership problem led to the scandal, he told a Columbus, Ohio, radio station earlier that he has confidence in Sullivan, the head of the agency.

“I believe the right corrective action will be taken there and obviously everyone is very, very disappointed,” Romney said. “I think it will be dealt with (in) as aggressive a way as is possible given the requirements of the law.”

When asked, the Romney campaign would not say whether he had been briefed on the situation or was relying upon media reports for details.

At least 10 military personnel who were staying at the same hotel are also being investigated for misconduct.

Two U.S. military officials have said they include five Army Green Berets. One of the officials said the group also includes two Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal technicians, two Marine dog handlers and an Air Force airman. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still under way.

Secret Service’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which handles that agency’s internal affairs, is investigating, and the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general also has been notified.

Sullivan, who this week has briefed lawmakers behind closed doors, said he has referred to the case to an independent government investigator.

Secret Service investigators have interviewed all of the hotel’s maids and cleaning ladies as part of its investigation, according to a person familiar with the investigation. The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing probe, said investigators have not found any drugs or drug paraphernalia in the agents’ rooms.

King said the agency was “reasonably confident” that drug use was not an issue with the three agents forced out on Wednesday. But he said Secret Service investigators would continue to look into whether drugs played a role in the incident as it continues talking to the other eight agents involved.

“Everything is on the table,” the congressman said.

Col. Scott Malcom, a spokesman of U.S. Southern Command, which organized the military team assigned to support the Secret Service’s mission in Cartagena, said Wednesday that an Air Force colonel is leading the military investigation and arrived in Colombia with a military lawyer Tuesday morning.

The troops are suspected of violating curfews set by their commanders.

“They were either not in their room or they showed up to their room late while all this was going on or they were in their room with somebody who shouldn’t be there,” Malcom said.

Lawmakers have called for a thorough investigation and have suggested they would hold oversight hearings, though none has yet been scheduled. The incident is expected to come up next week on Wednesday when Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a previously scheduled oversight hearing.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said that for now, he is interested in what actually happened. He did not address how much responsibility Obama should bear for the scandal or whether Congress should hold hearings on it.


---Secret Service scandal raises question of macho culture, women agents
By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
April 19, 2012 -- Updated 0025 GMT (0825 HKT)
http://edition.cnn.com/2012/04/18/us/secret-service-women/?hpt=hp_c1

(CNN) -- The scandal over allegations that Secret Service agents brought prostitutes to their hotel rooms in Colombia ahead of a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama keeps growing. And with it come awkward questions about whether a strong macho element in the culture of the U.S. Secret Service could pose a threat to security, and how women agents fit into the picture.

Journalist and commentator Kiri Blakeley asked in a blog post Tuesday why there are not more female Secret Service agents to counter this kind of bad behavior.

"The reason there should be more is simple: Women don't get into trouble the way men do," she wrote.

"Seriously, can you imagine a bunch of Secret Service gals going on a trip to Colombia, where they are scheduled to secure the environment for their boss, who happens to be, oh, the most powerful man in the world, and then hiring a bunch of call guys?" she asks.

The identities of the 11 Secret Service agents implicated in the investigation have not been disclosed, nor have those of as many as 10 U.S. military personnel also suspected of involvement. But it is widely assumed they are all men.

Three agents involved in scandal leave Secret Service

However, Jeffrey Robinson, who wrote "Standing Next to History: An Agent's Life Inside the Secret Service," with former senior special agent Joseph Petro, said the incident in Colombia should not cast doubts on the professionalism of Secret Service agents as a whole, whatever their gender.

"They are to a man -- and woman -- so extremely proud, and share that pride and esprit de corps, like the Marines. And when a bunch of idiots pull a stunt like this, these men and women are insulted and infuriated by it," he said.

"But at no point was the president under threat and it never could have led to that."

Robinson puts the Colombia incident down to "alcohol, mixed with testosterone and a dash of hubris, and that's a nasty combination," but points out that bad behavior by groups of men away from home is not a rarity.

"But they are idiots, they know what they are supposed to do and how they are supposed to behave," he added of the agents allegedly involved, some of whom are reportedly married.

How many female Secret Service agents were among several hundred U.S. personnel sent to Colombia to safeguard Obama during a summit in Cartagena is not known.

But Robinson says women -- who made up about a quarter of the Secret Service's 6,913 employees in 2010, according to an Equal Opportunity Employment Commission report -- are an integral part of the Secret Service.

This is because women have to be able to do everything the male agents do, including expert firearms use, and are deployed in just the same way to protect the president, he said.

"They really can shoot that weapon -- and when Secret Service fire, they don't miss," he said.

Women are also better suited than their male counterparts to do some things, Robinson said, such as accompanying the first lady if she makes a restroom stop.

They also fit right into the presidential protective division, or PPD -- the innermost ring of steel around the president.

Former Secret Service agent Petro had women on his detail when he was in charge of the PPD for President Ronald Reagan, Robinson said.

"They had to ride the big thoroughbred horses the same as the men," Robinson said. "Or when they went skiing with Dan Quayle, they had to be able to ski and keep up with him while still wearing the gun and the radio. Physically, it's tough."

The Secret Service has not yet responded to a CNN request for information on how its women agents are deployed.

But its annual report for fiscal year 2010 outlines the efforts made to find suitable female recruits. Those who have taken part in college sports are of particular interest, the report says, as "the goal is to target college/university women athletes who are capable of completing the Secret Service's rigorous physical fitness training program."

Women have been part of the Secret Service for four decades. The first female Secret Service agent to die in the line of duty was Special Agent Julie Y. Cross, in 1980.

Barbara Riggs, a veteran agent of the Secret Service, marked a happier milestone when she became the first woman in the agency's history to be named deputy director, in 2004.

Ronald Kessler, a former Washington Post reporter and author of "In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect," says an under-representation of women is not a factor in how the Colombia scandal unfolded.

"They are involved in everything. There's not a problem with women at all. I just don't think there's any issue here at all," he said.

And suggestions that a pervasive macho culture within the service may have fueled the agents' misconduct are also off the mark, he said.

"When women first started there was this issue, but that's a long time ago. Obviously this episode raises questions like that, but it's really not representative. The problem is that the management is lax in many ways. There's lots of corner-cutting going on."

Kessler told CNN in another interview that the image generated by the scandal of agents partying hard while on work trips also is misleading.

"They are so overworked most of the time that they are forced to go into overtime, that they barely have time for a life, let alone to party," he said.

With internal investigations ongoing and a likely Senate Judiciary Committee hearing next week, there will be little in the way of good times coming soon for those caught up in the furor.

And the spotlight shone on the Secret Service may mean it's in line for a wider shake-up.

Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Virginia, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, is one of those who think change is overdue -- and that Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan will have to go.

"I think it's time to put somebody else in there to make sure we're getting a different culture in the Secret Service," Forbes told CNN.

---ヒラリー長官ご機嫌 キューバ系クラブ 飲酒姿が米紙流出---
2012年4月17日 夕刊
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/world/news/CK2012041702000246.html

 【ニューヨーク=青柳知敏】クリントン米国務長官が、米州首脳会議で訪れた南米コロンビア・カルタヘナのキューバ系ナイトクラブで、上機嫌でビールをらっぱ飲みする写真が流出し、十六日付の米大衆紙ニューヨーク・ポストが一面で報じた。
 同紙などによると、クリントン氏は十四日の夕食会終了後の深夜、側近とカジュアルな黒のドレスで「カフェ・ハバナ」に現れた。キューバ音楽のバンド演奏に合わせ、マラカスを振りながら三曲踊ったという。退店時はバンドのメンバーに礼を言って握手し、ウエーターにチップ四十ドル(約三千二百円)を機嫌良く支払った。
 すっかり羽を伸ばしたクリントン氏について、同紙はファーストネームの「ヒラリー」と「SWILL(がぶ飲み)」を組み合わせた「SWILLARY(スイラリー)」との造語を大見出しに付け、皮肉った。
 会議は、キューバの参加を拒む米国に対する参加国からの批判で紛糾し、予定していた共同声明を採択できずに十五日に閉幕。ヒラリー氏の流出写真について、国務省のトナー副報道官は「ナイトライフを楽しんだだけで、ささいな話だ」と述べ、問題視しない姿勢を示した。


---米州会議閉幕  米、盟主の威信陰り---
2012年4月17日 朝刊
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/world/news/CK2012041702000104.html

 【ニューヨーク=青柳知敏】北中南米とカリブ海の約三十カ国が参加し、南米コロンビアのカルタヘナで開かれた米州首脳会議は十五日、社会主義国キューバの参加を拒否する米国とカナダへの強い批判で共同声明を採択できずに閉幕した。オバマ米大統領には自らの警護官による買春疑惑も降り掛かり、成果よりもスキャンダルが注目される中南米外遊になった。
 ロイター通信によると、オバマ氏は会議後の会見で「キューバ国民は指導者を選ぶ自由と世界経済への関与を望んでいる」と発言。民主化や人権問題への対応が不十分との認識を強調した。
 しかし、会議では議長国コロンビアのサントス大統領が「いまだに冷戦に束縛されているのは時代錯誤」と述べるなど、親米国からも批判が噴出。会議をボイコットしたベネズエラの反米左派チャベス大統領、ニカラグアのオルテガ大統領らはキューバの参加が認められなければ、一五年の次回会議も欠席すると表明した。
 背景にあるのは中南米諸国の米国離れと中国の急速な接近だ。米州のうち、米国とカナダを除く三十三カ国は昨年十二月、新たな地域機構「中南米カリブ海諸国共同体(CELAC)」を設立。対米依存を抜け出す「自立化」を目指しており、中国の胡錦濤国家主席は発足後の祝電で、CELACとの対話を強化すると表明した。
 オバマ氏は就任直後の〇九年の前回会議で「過去からの多くの荷物をテーブルに並べるつもりはない」と述べ、中南米政策軽視のブッシュ前政権からの方針転換を示したが、国内では「弱腰外交」との批判も。再選を狙う大統領選を十一月に控え、不要な批判を避けるため、中南米との関係改善策表明は見送った。
 事前にコロンビア入りしていた警護官十一人を買春疑惑で解任する事態になり、“泣きっ面にハチ”の外遊になり、常に不機嫌だったという。


---米大統領警護隊が集団買春か、首脳会議のコロンビアから送還---
2012年4月16日
http://www.asahi.com/international/reuters/RTR201204160004.html

 [カルタヘナ(コロンビア)/ワシントン 14日 ロイター] 米シークレットサービス(SS)は14日、南米コロンビアのカルタヘナで開幕した米州首脳会議に出席するオバマ大統領の警護を担当する11人を、職務から外したことを明らかにした。現地で買春した疑いがあり、調査を行うためだという。
 コロンビアの警察当局などによると、先遣隊として現地入りしていた警護員らが宿泊先のホテルに女性を連れ戻ったところ、スタッフが登録していない客は部屋に入れられないと拒否。これに対し、警護員らが抵抗したという。
 米政府は声明で、「申し立てられている不品行」としか説明していないが、警護員11人を送還したほか、軍職員5人についても謹慎処分としたことを認めた。
 オバマ大統領は米州地域で徐々に衰えを見せている米国の影響力を取り戻そうとしているが、サミット開催地で発覚したスキャンダルに水を差された形。また、SSの信頼低下につながるほか、ゲリラや麻薬組織がなお勢力を維持するコロンビアで大統領に提供される警護の質にも疑義が生じている。


---米大統領警護要員、コロンビアから送還 ホテルで買春か---
2012.04.15 Sun posted at: 11:23 JST
http://www.cnn.co.jp/usa/30006255.html

 コロンビア北部カルタヘナ(CNN) 南米コロンビア北部カルタヘナで始まった米州サミットの開幕前に、オバマ米大統領の警護要員として現地入りしていたチームのメンバーが買春行為を含む職務規定違反の疑いで任務を解かれ、送還されていたことが分かった。事情に詳しい複数の米政府情報筋が語った。
 送還されたのはシークレットサービスの要員11人。米ワシントンの本部で14日に事情聴取を受けた。彼らは12日に休職処分となっていた。オバマ大統領は13日に現地に到着した。
 情報筋がCNNに語ったところによると、メンバーらは11日夜、滞在先のホテルの部屋に売春婦数人を連れ帰ったが、女性のうち1人は朝になっても部屋から出て来なかった。入室しようとしたホテル管理人に、この女性が「報酬を受け取っていない」と訴えたことから、買春行為が明るみに出たという。
 一報、米南方軍司令部は14日、シークレットサービスの補助を担当していた兵士5人が同じホテルで不適切な行為に関与した疑いがあるとして、コロンビア国内で身柄を拘束されていると発表した。買春行為があったかなどの詳細は不明。ダグラス・フレイザー司令官は「残念だ」との声明を発表した。
 このホテルはオバマ大統領の滞在先ではないが、サミット関連の要人や報道陣が宿泊しているという。


---米大統領の警護担当12人を解任 コロンビアで買春か---
2012年4月14日18時9分
http://www.asahi.com/international/update/0414/TKY201204140316.html?ref=reca

 コロンビア北部カルタヘナで14日に開幕する米州サミットに備え、米大統領の警護のため現地入りしていたシークレットサービスの12人が「不謹慎な行為」をしたとして、解任されたことがわかった。AP通信などが報じた。買春行為があったとみられる。
 「不謹慎な行為」は、オバマ大統領が現地入りした13日より前にあったといい、すでに人員は交代したという。シークレットサービスのスポークスマンは「警護に影響はない」と説明。買春行為については明確にしなかった。(カルタヘナ=岩田誠司)

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