US Secret Service facing another sex scandal

Updated 16 November 2013
0

US Secret Service facing another sex scandal

WASHINGTON: More than 18 months after a prostitution scandal in South America rocked the Secret Service, the agency in charge of protecting the president is investigating another case of suspected sexual misconduct in its ranks.
This time, two supervisory agents assigned to President Barack Obama’s protective detail have been investigated for misconduct involving sexually suggestive emails sent to a female subordinate. The alleged misconduct does not appear to involve a breach of Obama’s security.
According to The Washington Post, which first reported the inquiry Wednesday, superviser Ignacio Zamora Jr. was reassigned. Timothy Barraclough, also a superviser, remains with the presidential protection division.
The agency started investigating Zamora this spring after hotel staff at the upscale Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington notified the Secret Service that a bullet from Zamora’s weapon was found in a hotel room, a federal law enforcement official said. The woman in the room identified Zamora as the agent who left the bullet, the official said. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the internal investigation.
A subsequent internal investigation uncovered the emails from Zamora and Barraclough, the official said.
The Secret Service said Thursday that the agency investigates all allegations of misconduct and takes action when appropriate. The agency said neither agent would comment on the case.
News of the latest probe involving sexual misconduct prompted Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republicans, to press acting Homeland Security Secretary Rand Beers about an internal report on the agency’s culture during a hearing Thursday.
Beers, who was testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on an unrelated topic, said he was expecting the report to be ready shortly.
In the wake of the prostitution scandal in Cartagena, Colombia, eight Secret Service employees were forced out of the agency, three were cleared of serious misconduct and at least two have been fighting to get their jobs back.
Then Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan apologized for the scandal during a congressional hearing and promptly issued a variety of rule changes, including barring agents and officers from bringing foreign nationals back to their hotel rooms and requiring that agents not drink alcohol within 10 hours of the start of a shift.
Sullivan retired earlier this year, and Obama named career agent Julia Preston as the first woman to head the elite agency, signaling a desire to change the culture of the service.


Security forces free Mali official from extremists

Updated 7 min 42 sec ago
0

Security forces free Mali official from extremists

  • A Malian jounalist who was kidnapped was also freed
  • A peace agreement signed in 2015 was aimed at restoring stability, but the accord has failed to stop violence by extremist militants

BAMAKO, Mali: A senior government official and a journalist abducted by suspected extremists in Mali have been freed, a security source told AFP on Tuesday.
Makan Doumbia, the prefect of Tenenkou commune in central Mali, “was freed Monday thanks to an action by state security,” the source told AFP.
Doumbia, the most senior government representative in the commune, was abducted in the Mopti region on May 8 last year.
He is now being treated in intensive care in the capital Bamako, said the source, who refused to comment on claims that Doumbia was freed under a prisoner exchange.
A son of the official, who declined to give his full name, also confirmed the prefect had been released.
“I was able to speak to my father. He is very tired. But the most important thing is that he is free. I am very happy,” said the son.
Malian journalist Issiaka Tamboura, who was kidnapped in central Mali in December, was also released and taken to hospital in Bamako, security and media sources said.
However, elsewhere in the Mopti region, four hostages taken by suspected extremists were killed at Toguere-Koumbe last week, according to Kisal, a rights group for nomadic communities.
Kisal announced on its Facebook page Monday that those killed were members of the Bozo ethnic group.
A security source confirmed that “four civilian hostages of terrorists” were found dead at Toguere at the weekend.
Extremist militias linked to Al-Qaeda seized the north of Mali in 2012, but were pushed back by French troops the following year.
A peace agreement signed in 2015 by the Bamako government and armed groups was aimed at restoring stability, but the accord has failed to stop violence by extremist militants — who have also staged attacks in neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.