USSS supervisor David Chaney was allowed to retire and USSS supervisor Greg Stokes was “removed with cause” in the deepening Colombian prostitution scandal. The men may appeal the termination within 30 days, and reportedly will exercise that option. A nonsupervisory employee has also resigned in the wake of the mission in Cartagena, Colombia, where agents performed detail work in advance of President Obama’s visit to the Summit of the Americas.
Stokes was an assistant special agent in charge of the K-9 division, which handles bomb-sniffing dogs. The Washington Post reports that Chaney had been a supervisor in the agency’s international programs division. He also protected Sarah Palin during the 2008 election, and wasn’t exactly professional about it. In 2009, Chaney posted the above photo of himself and Palin on Facebook. When a friend commented that he was her “stalker,” Chaney responded, “I was really checking her out, if you know what I mean?”
Palin took to Fox News last night to respond to her role in the scandal. “Well, check this out, buddy — you’re fired!” she said, also taking the opportunity to blame Obama. “It’s like, who’s minding the store around here?” said Palin. Unable to resist, she added, “I hope his wife sends him to the doghouse. As long as he’s not eating the dog, along with his former boss.”
The Post elaborates on the two men’s tenure: “Chaney and Stokes have each worked at the Secret Service for nearly two decades, and both have served significant time with the presidential protection detail, people who know the men said. Both are based in Washington.” Chaney and Stokes declined to comment on the matter, but their attorney Lawrence Berger, general counsel for the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, did address the allegations.
“It’s our ultimate position that nothing they may or may not have done in Colombia negatively impacted the efficiency of their mission,” Berger said. “Nothing that has been reported to have been done has impacted negatively their mission or the president’s visit.”
And, oh, by the way, the Colombian escort who blew the lid off of the Secret Service story was identified today as well. She’s a 24-year-old mother who goes by Dania Suarez, reportedly 1 of the possibly 20 or 21 (legal) prostitutes brought back to Hotel Caribe with agents on April 11. Eight other suspects are on administrative leave and remain under investigation. That does not include the military personnel who have also been implicated. CBS reports that more resignations are expected by the end of this week.
“It was totally wrong to take a foreign national back to a hotel when the president is about to arrive,” said Representative Peter King (R.-N.Y), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw more dismissals and more being forced out sooner rather than later.”
This post has been updated throughout.