外国媒体揭密奥巴马保镖嫖娼不给钱事件 - By Daily Mail Reporter,16 April 2012
- Congressman says agency is covering up even MORE scandals
- Several of the 11 men sent home are married; two are supervisors
- All agents have been suspended pending investigation
- 'Occurred before President's arrival for Summit of the Americas'
- Hotel employee claimed that the men were drinking heavily
- Five U.S. military personnel confined to quarters over the incident
This is the seedy Colombian strip club where Barack Obama's Secret Service agents allegedly partied and picked up prostitutes during a high-profile Latin American summit.
The dingy Cartagena love club is a world away from the luxury Hotel Caribe - where the heavily made-up hookers were reportedly later whisked to during a night of debauchery.
Everything about the one-storey brick PleyClub - from its cheesy neon sign, wipe-down tables, dancing pole and dimly lit in-club shower - is in stark contrast to the spotless marble interior of the upmarket hotel.
Seedy: The PleyClub, in Cartagena, Colombia, where Obama's Secret Service agents allegedly picked up prostitutes
Performance space: Cheap tables and seats are packed around a stage, which is completed with two dancing poles
Provocative: The PleyClub website promises to turn your fantasies into reality
Locals say the agents, who were sent home to the U.S. in disgrace following a melee after one of their number is said to have refused to pay $47 to one of the prostitutes at the Caribe, drank beer and whisky in the club.
One told Cartagena's El Heraldo newspaper: 'The gringos got rowdy at the bar. They drank fine whisky and slept with the prettiest ones, the ones that charge 300,000 pesos (about $180).
'Some did not want to pay. To make it worse, they almost beat up employees who wanted them to pay up.'
Despite the claims, club manager Juan Carlos told the New York Daily News they had never set foot on the premises.
But he said that tourists could sometimes 'negotiate a deal' with the 'dancers.' He added: 'They put on a show. Then, they walk around and talk to the guys.
Outreach: Shakira, the Colombian pop singer, introduced President Barack Obama when he visited an Afro-Colombian community at the end of his visit to the South American nation
Big fan: Obama invited Shakira because her charity undertakes education programs in the Afro-Colombian communities
Final appearance: The ceremony with Shakira was Obama's last event of his trip to Colombia, which has been at least partly-overshadowed by the Secret Service scandal
'A dance can cost from 80,000 to 90,000 pesos. Then, if they like each other, they negotiate a deal. The tourists come here and have a good time. We don’t let them mistreat the girls.
'They come to us if someone isn’t treating them right. Customers get drunk, but it never gets out of hand.'
The emergence of photographs of the club's interior comes the day after President Obama said he would be 'angry' if the allegations were proven true by an investigation.
Obama yesterday said the agents represented the United States and are supposed to conduct themselves with the highest levels of dignity anywhere in the world.
'Obviously, what's been reported doesn't match up to those standards,' Obama said in a news conference wrapping his appearance at a Latin America summit.
Before he returned home from the trip, which was in some ways overshadowed by the controversy surrounding his bodyguards, The president appeared with Shakira at a ceremony for Afro-Colombians.
The Colombian-born pop singer runs a charity that works with the historically-marginalized community.
On Sunday, Rep Darrell Issa, claimed the scandal was likely not the first time members of the president's protection team have invited prostitutes back to their rooms.
Issa, who heads the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, believes the wild hotel party ahead of Obama's arrival for the Summit of the Americas is evidence that the agency could be covering up other misdeeds in the ranks of America's most elite civil servants.
And he hinted even more agents than the 11 recalled to Washington last week could be involved in this scandal.
Obama blasted the agents accused of misconduct, saying: 'We are representing the people of the United States, and when we travel to another country, I expect us to observe the highest standards.'
On Friday, 11 Secret Service agents, including two supervisors, were shipped back to Washington and suspended after local police and hotel security staffers became involved in a dispute between an agent and a Colombian prostitute broke out at the luxury Hotel Caribe -- after the agent refused to fork over $47.
Rep Peter King, who was briefed on
the incident, said 'nearly all' of the agents on the team, many of whom
are married, had prostitutes in their rooms that night.
Five U.S. military personnel who were helping the agents were confined to their quarters after the Defence Department learned they might have been involved, as well.
said he hasn't decided whether his committee would independently
investigate the prostitution allegations. However, he said he planned to
'look over the shoulder' of federal investigators.
The allegations, which could have opened the agents up to blackmail, require the agency to do 'some soul-searching' about its personnel are screened and trained.
'Things like this don't happen once if they didn't happen before,' he said on Face the Nation. 'We think the number (of agents involved) might be higher, and we're asking for the exact amount of all the people who were involved,' he added.
Issa, a California Republican, linked the agents' misbehaviour, which wasn't illegal, with the General Service Administration controversy, which saw employees of that agency spend $820,000 on a glitzy conference in Las Vegas.
Luxury accommodations: The agents were partying at the Hotel Caribe, a beachfront resort, where they were staying while they scouted security for Obama's visit
The Secret Service team was in the country to scout out the security situation ahead of Obama's trip there for the Summit of the Americas this weekend.
They reportedly capped off a week of heavy drinking at the beach front Hotel Caribe in Cartagena by cavorting with prostitutes.
Rep King, said he was told that anyone visiting the hotel overnight was required to leave identification at the front desk and leave the hotel by 7am.
When a woman failed to do so, it raised questions among hotel staff and police, who investigated.
They found the woman with the agent in the hotel room and a dispute arose over whether the agent should have paid her. Mr King said he was told that the agent did eventually pay the woman.
The incident was reported to the U.S. embassy, prompting further investigation. During their week-long stay at the five-star hotel in Cartagena, the agents were seen drinking heavily, according to waiters there.
A number of the White House staff and travelling press corps were also staying at the hotel.
The White House said Mr Obama had been briefed about the incidents but would not comment on his reaction.
'The President does have full confidence in the United States Secret Service,' presidential spokesman Jay Carney said when asked.
Mr Carney insisted the matter was more a distraction for the media than Mr Obama. But Secret Service assistant director Paul Morrissey said in a statement: 'We regret any distraction from the Summit of the Americas this situation has caused.'
The Washington Post reported that Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, said the accusations related to at least one agent having involvement with prostitutes.
The association represents federal law enforcement officers, including the Secret Service.
Ronald Kessler, a former Post reporter and the author of a book about the Secret Service, told the newspaper that he had learned that among the agents involved, several are married.
Although prostitution is legal in parts of Colombia, the Secret Service is said to consider solicitation inappropriate behaviour for its agents.
Colombia has become known as 'the Thailand of Latin America' for its loose laws on prostitution and the easy availability of sex workers.
The incident threatened to overshadow Mr Obama's economic and trade agenda at the Summit of the Americas and embarrass the U.S.
Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan would not confirm that prostitution was involved, saying, 'The Secret Service takes all allegations of misconduct seriously.'
'These personnel changes will not affect the comprehensive security plan that has been prepared in advance of the President’s trip,' said Mr Donovan of the conference in the Colombian port city attended by Obama and more than 30 world leaders.
He said the allegations of misconduct were related to activity before the president's arrival on Friday night.
HOW THE PRESIDENT'S BODYGUARDS UPSTAGED HIS TRIP TO COLOMBIA
The Secret Service sex scandal broke this weekend when an anonymous tipster called the Associated Press.
The AP discovered that 11 Secret Service agents were sent back to Washington after 'nearly all of them' allegedly partied with Colombian prostitutes at their hotel last week.
The agents were in Cartagena for an advance security mission to prepare to President Barack Obama's visit to the Summit of the Americas.
Two of the men were supervisors. Several are married and all of them have been suspended, pending an investigation.
Experts say the scandal could have exposed the agents to blackmail and potentially endangered the president.
The men were busted after a prostitute got angry and caused a commotion involving hotel security and local police when one agent refused to pay her. The tab? $47.
President Obama, whom the Secret Service says was never in danger, said he would be 'angry' if the allegations are proven true.
Five US military personnel who were helping the agents with security were confined to their rooms after it was revealed they may have been involved, as well.
Hotel Caribe, the site of the partying, offers luxury beachfront accommodations. It did not house the president, but journalists and White House staffers stayed there.
The agents likely picked up the hookers at a sleazy strip joint called PleyClub after a night of wild boozing there.
Rep Darrell Issa, a California Republican, suggested Secret Service agents might be covering up other sex scandals when he said, 'Things like this don't happen once if they didn't happen before.'