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April 30th, 2012
12:43 PM ET

Is the culture in the Secret Service to blame for Colombia scandal? Author Ronald Kessler explains

There's new information today in the Secret Service scandal in Colombia. CNN has learned the agent who "refused to pay" the escort was Arthur Huntington, who sources say is 41 years old, married and has two sons. He has left the service, but it is not clear under what circumstances.

Also today – we're hearing what new guidelines Secret Service members must follow, including:

- non-reputable establishments are off limits while on the road.
- foreigners are banned from their hotel rooms unless it's for official business.
- agents must comply with U.S. Laws even if they're in another country.
- no heavy drinking even when off duty.
- a supervisor will now accompany so called "jump teams," or advance teams.

Ronald Kessler, author of "In the President's Secret Service," talks with Soledad on "Starting Point" on the latest in the scandal. He broke the story about the agents being sent home after the Colombia story broke, and he agrees that the agency has been 'sloppy' in its behavior in recent years.

"If the people at the top set a cultural tone that condones this corner cutting and winking and nodding, that even condones dishonesty in some cases," Kessler says. "For example, they ask agents to fill out their own test scores and physical fitness tests. Then, of course, everyone says we can do whatever we want, if they are idiots, which is what we saw in Colombia."

"When it comes to these rules, you know, it's as if these agents are kindergarten kids," Kessler adds.

See more from the interview in the video above.


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