‘These are young guys … They don’t want to see the tulip fields’

That's what one Dutch driver said about the Secret Service agents on President Obama's security detail, three of whom were sent home and put on administrative leave Sunday after going out for a night of drinking.

“These are young guys. It happens,” said the driver who had been contracted to help the teams of hundreds Secret Service agents get around the Netherlands during the logistically complex trip. “You take them to a place like Amsterdam and they have a good time.”

One of the agents was found drunk and passed out in a hotel hallway a day before Obama arrived, according to people familiar with the incident. The driver, who spoke on condition of anonymity because his employer had not granted him permission to speak to the press, said that at least 80 drivers had been contracted to take the American delegation around the Netherlands.

The hotel where Obama stayed on Monday night, the Huis Ter Duin Hotel in Noordwijk, is a grand, wood-paneled resort hotel along the sea, about a 45-minute drive from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

“These are big guys,” the driver said. “They don't want to see the tulip fields.”

He said that drivers were at the disposal of the American teams, including when the Americans had leisure time. Many chose to go into Amsterdam to sightsee, he said. At least one delegation went to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam on Sunday during a break, he said. Others went to see the complex system of dams and locks that protect the Netherlands from sea swells.

Michael Birnbaum is The Post’s Moscow bureau chief. He previously served as the Berlin correspondent and an education reporter.
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