The chairman of a House panel looking into allegations of misconduct by U.S. Secret Service agents last month in Colombia says he sees no need to meet with one of the prostitutes at the center of the scandal.
Rep. Peter King, who heads the House Committee on Homeland Security, said in a statement Sunday that a meeting with Dania Londono Suarez isn’t necessary for the committee to do its work.
Suarez has called the agents “stupid brutes" who put partying above President Barack Obama's security.
"These seem like completely stupid, idiotic people," Suarez said in an interview that aired last Monday on NBC’s “TODAY” show. "I don't know how Obama had them in his security force."
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Senate committee with jurisdiction over homeland security says he's scheduled a hearing for May 23 to review the Secret Service investigation of the Colombia prostitution scandal.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, who appeared with King on Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," said that he believes the agency has done a thorough job in investigating the incident, in which Secret Service personnel who were part of an advance team ahead of a presidential trip were accused of bringing prostitutes back to their hotel rooms in Cartagena, Colombia. But the Connecticut independent wants to know whether there were warning signs about agents' behavior.
He also wants to hear what steps are being taken to ensure something similar doesn't happen again.
"This is really a heartbreaking incident, and really a dangerous incident, and we really have got to make sure it never does happen again," Lieberman said.
He said the Secret Service director, Mark Sullivan, will be called to the hearing by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Nine Secret Service officials lost their jobs after the Colombia incident.
King said on “State of the Union” that he has declined a request to meet with one of the prostitutes involved in the scandal.
He later issued this statement:
Late last Thursday, an attorney for Dania Londono Suarez contacted Committee staff and requested that I meet with his client in my office. While such a meeting -- and the inevitable circus atmosphere surrounding it -- would no doubt be of great interest to the media covering this story, a meeting with her is simply not necessary at this time for the Committee to conduct a serious and thorough investigation. For now, I have directed my staff to communicate with and gather information about the misconduct from the woman via her attorney.
"It is my understanding that the Secret Service investigators met with and interviewed the woman last week at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, nearly a week after she participated in that lengthy interview with a radio station. During her interview with the Secret Service, Ms. Suarez acknowledged that at no time did she have access to any sensitive information whatsoever and had no idea that she had been involved with a Secret Service agent.
"The Committee's investigation is ongoing, with investigators continuing to gather information on the misconduct from the Secret Service and a number of other sources."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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