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Key senator: Women in Colombia had no access to classified info

 

The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee said Wednesday that the Colombian prostitutes at the center of an emerging scandal in the Secret Service had no access to classified information.

Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the ranking member of the judiciary panel, said that Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan believes the Colombian prostitutes involved in the scandal did not have access to secure information or materials that may have been in the hotel rooms of Secret Service personnel.

Recounting his conversation with Sullivan yesterday, Grassley said, "He gave us an idea of where guns and papers and personal belongings connected to them are stored. But, I think that he feels that protocol was followed."

Grassley also said he believes the youngest woman involved was about 20 or 21 years old and that the Service has a handle on the number of women that were brought back to the hotel, believed to be 20 or 21 women.

Grassley credited Sullivan for assigning an inspector general to investigate what happened last week in Colombia. He said Judiciary Committee staff will be meeting with Secret Service representatives later this week to get a more complete briefing. Grassley would not make a judgement on whether Sullivan should keep his job until he learns more about the investigation.

Will the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Secret Service, conduct its own investigation?

"I would say we would only come to that conclusion to the extent to which we thought the Inspector General was not doing the job," Grassley said.

Grassley expressed concern about a culture of misbehavior that may exist in the Secret Service.

"I did tell [Sullivan] that this agency has a very good reputation over 150 years as far as I know ... and so it's quite a shock"