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Despite Colombia prostitution scandal, Obama has confidence in Secret Service chief

Olivier Knox, Yahoo News
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Click image to see more photos. (AFP/Alex Ogle)

Click image to see more photos. (AFP/Alex Ogle)

President Barack Obama still has confidence in Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan despite a widening scandal over agents allegedly cavorting with prostitutes on the margins of an international summit in Cartagena, Colombia, the White House said Tuesday.

"Director Sullivan acted quickly in response to this incident and is overseeing an investigation, as we speak, into the matter," spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at his daily briefing.

The agency announced Monday that it had stripped 11 agents tied to the scandal of their "top secret" clearance and seized their official identification and firearms.

The president made clear "he believes that all of us who travel abroad represent our country and the people of the United States and we need to behave with the utmost, the highest level of integrity and probity," Carney said.

"If in fact it turns out that some of the reported allegations are true he will be angry about that," Carney said, echoing Obama's own comments in Colombia.

Asked whether the Secret Service scandal and the controversy over the General Services Administration's lavish party on the taxpayer dime in Las Vegas threatened to erode further Americans' trust in their government, Carney demurred but said Obama expects that "everyone who serves the American people by working for this government needs to hold themselves to the highest standards of public service" and prove themselves "careful stewards of taxpayer dollars."

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