IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

12th Secret Service agent implicated in prostitution scandal; three more quit

Updated at 6:53 p.m. ET : A 12th Secret Service agent is under investigation in the Colombian prostitution scandal, the agency said Friday. Meanwhile, three more agents resigned and one was cleared of "serious" misconduct.

The agency had previously announced the resignation of one agent and the retirement of another in connection with the procurement of women during President Barack Obama's trip to Cartagena, Colombia, last week. A third was listed to be fired.

In a statement Friday evening, the agency confirmed a report by NBC News' Kristen Welker that the inquiry had expanded to include a 12th agent. Like the 11 others, the agent was placed on administrative leave and stripped of their security clearances, it said.

One of those was cleared of "serious misconduct" but faces undisclosed "administrative action," it said, meaning five agents remained under active investigation after Friday's dust had settled.

Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan briefed Obama on the investigation earlier in the day, a White House official said. Sullivan has been praised by some lawmakers for his forthrightness and quick action in the case and still has some support in Congress, but "these things can turn on a dime," an official said.

The unfolding scandal has prompted the agency to review its policies on contact with foreign nationals. White House press secretary Jay Carney said Friday that the administration intended to resolve the current investigation "before we look more broadly," but he stressed that "the president has high regard for the agency."

"The Secret Service has stated quite clearly and the president believes that his security and the overall security of the trip was never compromised," Carney said.

The Defense Department, meanwhile, clarified Friday that 11 members of the U.S. military were also involved in the scandal, not 10, as had previously been reported. 

The service members span four branches of the military:

  • Six members of the Army's Special Forces.
  • Two Navy explosive ordnance disposal team members.
  • Two Marine dog handlers.
  • One airman.

The earlier reports included only five soldiers.

Following is the full Secret Service statement:

The Secret Service's comprehensive investigation into allegations of misconduct by its employees in Cartagena, Colombia continues.

In addition to the previously announced personnel actions, three additional employees have chosen to resign.  

As a result of the ongoing investigation in Cartagena, a twelfth employee has been implicated. He has been placed on administrative leave and his security clearance has been temporarily suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.   One of the employees involved has been cleared of serious misconduct, but will face appropriate administrative action.

At this point, five employees continue to be on administrative leave and their security clearances remain suspended pending the outcome of this investigation." 

The Secret Service continues to conduct a full, thorough and fair investigation, utilizing all investigative techniques available to our agency. This includes polygraph examinations, interviews with the employees involved, and witness interviews, to include interviews being conducted by our Office of Professional Responsibility in Cartagena, Colombia. 

Since these allegations were first reported, the Secret Service has actively pursued this investigation, and has acted to ensure that appropriate action is affected. We demand that all of our employees adhere to the highest professional and ethical standards and are committed to a full review of this matter.

Kristen Welker, Luke Russert, Ali Weinberg, Libby Leist and Courtney Kube of NBC News in Washington and M. Alex Johnson of contributed to this report. Follow M. Alex Johnson on Twitter and Facebook.

More content from and NBC News:

Follow US News on on Twitter and Facebook