Three elite agents charged with guarding President Obama during his current European and the Middle East trip were returned home from Amsterdam “for disciplinary reasons,” a Secret Service spokesman confirmed Tuesday evening to The Washington Post.
The incident leading to their reprimand and return home reportedly occurred Sunday morning when, following a night of heavy drinking, one of the three agents was found by hotel staff passed out in a hotel hallway, The Post reported.
The staff advised the U.S. Embassy, which in turn alerted management of the Secret Service detail for the president’s trip, according to people familiar with the facts. The Post reported:
Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan confirmed Tuesday evening that the agency “did send three employees home for disciplinary reasons” and that they were put on administrative leave pending an investigation. Donovan declined to comment further.
The alleged incident took place in Noordwijk at the Huis Ter Duin Hotel, where the president stayed Monday night, a White House official said Wednesday morning. This is a resort town in the Netherlands about 15 minutes outside The Hague.
All three agents are reportedly members of the Secret Service’s Counter-Assault Team, or CAT, described by former agency employees as being responsible for “the last line of defense” for the president’s safety.
The three are in apparent violation of rules adopted after a similar incident in Cartagena, Columbia, that now prohibit the consumption of alcohol during the 10 hours prior to an assignment. The Cartagena incident included a dozen agents and officers who had brought prostitutes to their rooms after drinking.
According to the Post:
The Counter Assault Team’s job is to protect the president if he or his motorcade comes under attack and to fight off assailants and draw fire while the protective detail removes the president from the area.
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Those selected for CAT are required to be highly skilled shooters and extremely physically fit, with a demanding training regimen, said the two former employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal operations.
“They received the best technical training in the service,” said a former agent with foreign assignment experience. “They were the only team constantly training — training on assaults, on evacuations, all sorts of things. They were very squared away. It was really difficult to get on CAT.”
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