The Washington Post

Secret Service scandal: Watchdog planning separate probe


Acting Inspector General Charles K. Edwards informed congressional offices Monday that he has launched an investigation to determine how well the Secret Service responded to the April 12 incident in Cartagena, Colombia. Edwards said his probe also will focus on the conclusions reached by the agency’s separate investigation, the sufficiency of the disciplinary actions taken against personnel involved and how effectively the Secret Service is handling issues of diversity, recruitment and discipline.

The Secret Service is one of more than 20 agencies and offices that comprise DHS.

In a message sent Monday, Edwards sought to assure lawmakers that he has been kept abreast of the agency’s ongoing investigation, noting that Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan first informed him of the incident on April 13, the day after agency officials identified an initial 11 personnel to be sent home from Colombia.

Edwards said his office “determined that the USSS was best positioned to immediately initiate the investigation with the full understanding that they would keep OIG [Office of Inspector General] informed as the investigation progressed,” according to Edwards’s letter. “We have maintained close contact with the USSS, coordinating with them as their internal investigation continued. During the past two weeks the USSS has been completely transparent and forthcoming with specific details and findings of their investigation.”

Edwards’s decision to further investigate the situation should meet the demands of Republican lawmakers who requested a separate, independent probe to determine what occurred in Colombia before President Obama arrived for the Summit of the Americas, and whether what unfolded was an aberration or part of a larger cultural pattern at the Secret Service.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Monday evening that while she maintains confidence in Sullivan and his ongoing investigation, “It is always difficult for an organization to investigate and reform itself, which is why the IG’s involvement is so important.”

Collins is the ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Governmental Affairs Committee, which is also investigating the matter, in addition to at least three other congressional committees. The Secret Service is due to deliver its initial findings on the Colombia scandal on Tuesday to the House Oversight and Homeland Security committees.

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

More from PostPolitics:

Obama campaign puts Bo on the trail

Touting bin Laden killing seen as risky

Is gridlock all the GOP’s fault?

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Unconventional warfare with a side of ale
It's in the details: Five ways to enhance your kitchen makeover
Play Videos
Drawing as an act of defiance
A fighter pilot helmet with 360 degrees of sky
Border collies: A 'mouse trap' for geese on the National Mall
Play Videos
Bao: The signature dish of San Francisco
This man's job is binge-watching for Netflix
What you need to know about Planned Parenthood
Play Videos
How to save and spend money at college
Pandas, from birth to milk to mom
Europe's migrant crisis, explained