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March 27th, 2013
11:38 AM ET

Will first female Secret Service director change the organization's culture? Fmr. agent Dan Bongino weighs in

Fmr. Secret Service agent Dan Bongino on the historic appointment of Julia Pierson as the head of the Secret Service.

Filed under: Secret Service
May 23rd, 2012
11:16 AM ET

Does the Secret Service have a culture problem? Sen. Ron Johnson weighs in

Four Secret Service agents who were dismissed during the prostitution scandal in Cartagena, Colombia are fighting back, saying they are being used as scapegoats to cover up a culture that’s been tolerated for a long time.

Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan will be testifying in front of the Senate Homeland Security Committee about the scandal for the first time today.

On Starting Point this morning, Sen. Ron Johnson calls the Secret Service misconduct a "sad revelation" and says that he's interested in finding out how pervasive this type of behavior is at today's hearing.

While Johnson says that Sullivan seems to genuinely want to get to the bottom of the situation, he asserts that it's important to determine whether or not the scandal is in fact part of a larger, accepted culture in one of the government's most respected agencies.

May 7th, 2012
11:00 AM ET

Escort calls Secret Service agents in Colombia scandal 'dumb men' and 'stupid brutes

In a 'TODAY' show exclusive, escort Dania Londono calls Secret Service agents in the Colombia scandal 'stupid brutes.'

May 2nd, 2012
11:32 AM ET

Rep. King says we need to know more about the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, says Secret Service 'ducked a bullet' in scandal

Lots of questions this morning about the purpose of President Obama's surprise trip to Afghanistan. Right after Air Force One went wheels up, the Taliban exploded a car bomb in Kabul that killed seven people. That was a fairly tough reminder that there's a long way to go in Afghanistan.

The new agreement between President Obama and the Afghan President Hamid Karzai is called the strategic partnership agreement that promises American support for Afghanistan through 2024, 10 years after the last American combat forces are scheduled to leave the country.

Some felt the speech fell a little short, including "The New York Times" in an editorial this morning. They wrote the speech was frustratingly short on specifics.

This morning on "Starting Point," Soledad talks with Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Peter King (R-NY). She asked him if President Obama made the right case in his speech, and what our purpose in Afghanistan should be.

"I think it's important to know, for instance, will the U.S. have the right to go from Afghanistan into Pakistan to launch drone attacks for instance? Or if we see al Qaeda operations forming in Pakistan, do we have the right to preempt them? That to me is very important," King says.

"Otherwise, I believe you could see al Qaeda forming right outside of the Afghanistan border and whatever troops we have left in Afghanistan in 2014, 2015, 2016, will not be adequate to match up against them. So, that's one issue."

Soledad also asks him to respond to NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly's claim from her interview that 14 different plots against New York City have been thwarted since 9/11.

"I think it's largely because of the infrastructure, the international anti-terrorism infrastructure that was put in place after 9/11 by President Bush. There's much more cooperation with our allies. We have the Patriot Act. We have many layers of defense. And quite frankly, I agree with Jose Rodriguez. I think a lot of the information that we obtained from Guantanamo and from the interrogations was extremely helpful in stopping attacks against this country," King says.

King also says he thinks the investigation into the Secret Service scandal in Colombia has been very thorough.

"In a way the Secret Service has ducked a bullet. What happened here really goes against all of the principles of the Secret Service because it was disclosed and there was no long-term security matter involved here, it gives the Secret Service the opportunity to clear up what has happened and do all accounts to make sure it never happens again, or at least minimizes it, to make it very difficult for that to happen again and get the signal out there to all Secret Service members that this conduct will not be tolerated.

See more from the interview below.


King: Anti-terror layers thwart attacks

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) says anti-terror policies and enhanced interrogation helped thwart further attacks in the U.S.


King: Secret Service 'ducked a bullet'

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) says he thinks the investigation into the Secret Service scandal has been very thorough.

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.

Filed under: Secret Service
April 27th, 2012
08:41 AM ET

Reporter: Sources suggest a 'pattern and practice' of prostitution and heavy drinking in Secret Service

Carol Leonnig, investigative reporter for The Washington Post, discusses her recent report that states that some Secret Service agents accused of misconduct in the prostitution scandal are "privately contending that their conduct didn't warrant dismissal because senior managers tolerated similar behavior during official trips."

April 20th, 2012
09:58 AM ET

Fmr. Secret Service agent: Ted Nugent's comments warranted agency interview 'without a doubt'

Former Secret Service agent Christopher Falkenberg discusses the latest developments in the prostitution scandal and weighs in on the agency's response to Ted Nugent's controversial comments about President Obama.

Filed under: Secret Service
April 19th, 2012
09:11 AM ET
April 16th, 2012
09:39 AM ET

Fmr. secret service agent Dan Emmett believes if the secret service allegations are true than it is an isolated incident

Former secret service agent Dan Emmett believes “this is a very isolated type of incident, if indeed it did occur”. He says that right now these are still allegations and no laws have been broken.

Filed under: Secret Service