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The Secret Service is cracking down on leaks and going underground in the wake of a prostitution scandal that has sent earthquake-sized ripples through the agency and tarnished the reputation of the men and women assigned to protect the President of the United States.
“Sorry, I’ve been ordered to say nothing, do nothing and keep my mouth shut,” said a former agent who provided information to Capitol Hill Blue as recently as last week. “I have a pension and I intent to protect it.”
Agents — both current and former — are shutting down Facebook accounts. They no longer respond to emails and hang up on reporters who call.
“Leave me alone,” said one when contacted by Capitol Hill Blue on Monday.
In an email to members, Pete Cavicchia, President of The Association of Former Agents of the U.S. Secret Service, said:
What purpose do these revelations, true or exaggerated, serve? What ever happened to one’s pride in being discreet and keeping a confidence? We as an organization and individually do not have to add to the damage and speculation at this time.
Capitol Hill Blue has also learned that current agents have been warned they face “serious repercussions” if they talk to the press.
“They have closed ranks,” says Jessica Herrera-Flanigan, former general counsel for the House Committee on Homeland Security. “Can you blame them? It’s a discreet organization. That’s their mission.”
Meanwhile, the inspector general for The Department of Homeland Security, informed Congress Monday that he has opened his own investigation into the scandal that put prostitutes in the hotel rooms of Secret Service agents in Columbia before President Obama’s visit there last month.
“With the initial stages of the USSS (U.S. Secret Service) internal investigation nearing completion, we notified the USSS of our intent to conduct a comprehensive review of this matter,” acting Inspector General Charles Edwards said in a letter to Congress. “The field work is beginning immediately.”
Copyright 2012 Capitol Hill Blue