Source: Michael Isikoff / MSNBC
Two Secret Service supervisors and three members of the agency’s elite Counter-Assault Teams were among the 11 agents sent back from Colombia and placed on administrative leave over allegations that they brought prostitutes to their hotel rooms in Cartagena, law enforcement officials tell NBC News.
The involvement of Counter-Assault Team (CAT) members– who are not members of the Uniformed Division, but full-fledged Secret Service agents — ratchets up the seriousness of the incident, officials said. The heavily armed agents play a key role in protecting the president, serving as part of any presidential motorcade, usually a few cars back from the president’s. Their responsibility is to “neutralize” any attack “as quickly as possible,” according to the Secret Service website.
“Their job is to fend off a heavy assault on the motorcade to give POTUS a chance to flee to a safe locale,” one law enforcement source familiar with the investigation told NBC News, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The source said the two of the CAT team members were directly involved in the dispute with one of the prostitutes at the Hotel Caribe that led to the scandal. After bringing back the prostitute to their hotel room, the agents reportedly got into a dispute with one of the women when she complained she hadn’t been paid. The women then went to the Colombian police — who reported the matter to the U.S. Embassy.
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