Military members' security clearance suspended over Colombia scandal

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the Defense Department has suspended the security clearance of military members under investigation for possible roles in the Secret Service sex scandal that took place in Colombia earlier this month.

People walk past Hotel El Caribe in Cartagena, Colombia, late Thursday April 19, 2012. Eleven Secret Service employees are accused of misconduct in connection with a prostitution scandal at the hotel last week before President Barack Obama's arrival for the Summit of the Americas. The identities of two Secret Service supervisors who have been pushed out of the agency in the wake of the scandal have been revealed.(AP Photo/Pedro Mendoza)

(CBS/AP) ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the Defense Department has suspended the security clearance of military members under investigation for possible roles in the Secret Service sex scandal that took place in Colombia earlier this month.

And in Washington, a senior defense official said Monday that another U.S. military member is under investigation, raising to 12 the number of service members being questioned about allegations of soliciting prostitutes in Colombia. The defense official discussed the additional person Monday on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still unfolding.

The senior defense official said the additional person is a male enlisted service member and is assigned to the White House Communications Agency, which provides the president with secure communications. The official had no additional details.

President Barack Obama's chief spokesman, press secretary Jay Carney, went to lengths to say that agency "is staffed entirely by military personnel, not by White House staff."

Panetta told reporters Monday about the disciplinary action against the service members first embroiled in the scandal en route to Colombia, where he was making a long-scheduled visit to meet with defense officials there. It was not clear how many of the service members had security clearances.

"My biggest concern is the issue of security and what could possibly have been jeopardized by virtue of this kind of behavior," Panetta said.

Six of the 12 agents implicated in the scandal are now out of a job, and the investigation is entering its second week amid new revelations about a prostitute being taken to a sensitive location.

"It just gets more troubling," Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday.

Five nights before the president's arrival, a twelfth Secret Service official, who was not previously under investigation, allegedly brought a prostitute to the Hilton Hotel in Cartegena, the hotel where the president later stayed.


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