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Secret Service prostitution scandal: White House clears advance staff

Olivier Knox, Yahoo News
The Ticket

The White House has investigated, and cleared, presidential advance staff of any misconduct in the Colombia prostitution scandal, spokesman Jay Carney said Monday, three days after stating that such an internal probe was unnecessary.

"There have been no specific, credible allegations of misconduct by anyone on the White House advance team, the White House staff," Carney said at his daily briefing. "Nevertheless, out of due diligence, the White House counsel's office has conducted a review of the White House advance team and, in concluding that review, came to the conclusion that there is no indication that any member of the White House advance team engaged in any improper conduct." The counsel's office opened its internal investigation on Friday and wrapped it up over the weekend, Carney said. But the spokesman declined to describe any of the details of the probe—whether aides were questioned or hotel records scrutinized.

On Friday, however, Carney dismissed repeated questions from reporters asking whether this type of investigation would take place.

"I have no reason, as I said yesterday, to believe that there is a need for that," he said.

Presidential advance staff are typically younger aides tasked with the critical job of preparing the logistical aspects of a presidential trip, including media coverage of major events.

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Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Monday that the Defense Department has suspended the security clearance of an unspecified number of military members currently under investigation for their potential roles in the sex scandal, the Associated Press reported.

"My biggest concern is the issue of security and what could possibly have been jeopardized by virtue of this kind of behavior," Panetta told reporters aboard a plane to Colombia Monday, where he is scheduled to meet with defense officials.

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