By Cathy Burke
WASHINGTON D.C. – A former Secret Service agent slammed the Obama administration Thursday for a “protect the crown approach” during a 2012 Colombia prostitution scandal — yet “readily throws … the people who would protect [the president] with their lives under the bus.”
Don Bongino, a Republican candidate for Congress in Maryland, told “The Real Story” on the Fox News Channel “everybody on the ground knew there was a White House staff member involved” in a hooker scandal that rocked the Secret Service two years ago.
According to a bombshell report in The Washington Post, the lead investigator into the scandal told Senate staffers he was asked to withhold evidence and stall the report on the embarrassing scandal for political reasons.
“We were directed at the time … to delay the report of the investigation until after the 2012 election,” David Nieland, the lead investigator for the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general’s office, told Senate staffers, according to The Post.
Bongino was outraged, noting recent security breaches at the White House ended with the resignation of the Secret Service Director Julia Pierson.
“Listen, this is a protect-the-crown approach by this administration, and it has been, frankly, a grotesque pattern of behavior … [the administration] so readily throws the rank-and-file members of the government, including the people who would protect him with their lives, under the bus,” he said.
And “they will protect the crown no matter what.”
The Obama administration denied any coverup.
But The Post reported the White House then-counsel Kathryn Ruemmler was twice given the information about allegations involving a member of the White House advance team in Colombia who partied with a prostitute, and that “each time, she and other presidential aides conducted an interview with the advance team member and concluded that he had done nothing wrong.”
Nearly two dozen Secret Service and military personnel who were assigned to protecting the president were disciplined for the embarrassing disclosure, though there was no reprimand for the White House aide.
“The Secret Service agents, and you can argue about the punishment too harsh, too lenient, that’s fine,” Bongino said. “I had friends and family involved in this. It’s a sensitive topic for me. But these guys’ lives are over. It’s done. It’s finished. They were humiliated in public. Some of their wives have left them. They’ve lost their homes.
“Yet, the White House staffer in this gets promoted for, what, women’s studies or women’s issues while there’s supposedly a war on women… Here’s a question … that the White House someone needs to ask. Was this [White House aide] polygraphed? Cause every Secret Service agent was. And if he wasn’t and you’re just taking his word for it, why wasn’t the same courtesy given to the agents? This is unbelievable.”
Bongino also told “The Real Story” authority over the Secret Service should “absolutely” be transferred back to the Treasury Department because “the Department of Homeland Security shift has been a disaster, go back to Treasury, they left the Secret Service alone to operate on a budget that was only about two-thirds of what it is now.”