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April 26, 2012

Agents' defense: It's happened before

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- Some of the U.S. Secret Service agents who lost their jobs for allegedly partying with prostitutes in Colombia may argue such conduct is common, sources say.

One agent not directly involved told The Washington Post the trip to Cartagena only became a scandal because U.S. diplomats got involved.

"Of course it has happened before," the agent said. "This is not the first time."

Some of the agents who had traveled to Cartagena in advance of President Barack Obama's trip to the city for the Summit of the Americas allegedly brought prostitutes back to their hotel and got drunk. Obama, asked about the episode Tuesday by late-night TV host Jimmy Fallon, praised the Secret Service and said its reputation should not be tarnished by "a couple of knuckleheads."

Twelve agents and 11 members of the military have been caught up in the scandal.

So far, two supervisors and four agents have been recommended for dismissal or resigned under pressure, and officials said Tuesday two more have agreed to quit, two could be demoted and another would be able to work for other federal agencies but was recommended for ouster by the Secret Service.

Only one has been cleared.

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