From the L.A. Daily News
Alleged Secret Service sex scandal may have involved 20 women
by Laurie Kellman
WASHINGTON - At least 20 foreign women and as many Secret Service officers and Marines met at a hotel in Colombia in an incident involving prostitution, and lawmakers are seeking information about any possible threat to the U.S. or to President Barack Obama who arrived for a conference soon after, congressional officials said Tuesday.
In briefings throughout the day, Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan told lawmakers that 11 members of his agency met with 11 women at a hotel in Cartagena and that more foreign females were involved with American military personnel.
Obama and some key congressional Republicans, meanwhile, said they continued to support Sullivan.
"The president has confidence in the director of the Secret Service. Director Sullivan acted quickly in response of this incident and is overseeing an investigation as we speak in to the matter," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
Sullivan shuttled between meetings with lawmakers Tuesday, outlining what his investigators in Washington and in Colombia have found about the incident.
"Twenty or 21 women foreign nationals were brought to the hotel," Sen. Susan Collins, the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, said Sullivan told her. Eleven of the Americans involved were Secret Service, she reported, and "allegedly Marines were involved with the rest."
Meanwhile, Sullivan told the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee that the 11 Secret Service agents and officers were telling different stories to investigators about who the women were. Sullivan has dispatched more investigators to Columbia to interview the women, said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.
"Some are admitting (the women) were prostitutes, others are saying they're not, they're just women they met at the hotel bar," King said in a telephone interview. Sullivan said none of the women, who had to surrender their IDs at the hotel, were minors. "But prostitutes or not, to be bringing a foreign national back into a secure zone is a problem," King said.
The scandal overshadowed Obama's visit to a Latin America summit over the weekend and embarrassed the U.S.'s top military brass. Pentagon press secretary George Little said that military members who are being investigated were assigned to support the Secret Service in preparation for Obama's official visit to Cartagena. He said they were not directly involved in presidential security.
The Secret Service sent 11 of its members, a group including agents and uniformed officers, home from Colombia amid allegations that they had hired prostitutes at a Cartagena hotel. The military members being investigated were staying at the same hotel.
The Secret Service personnel were placed on administrative leave, and on Monday the agency announced that it also had revoked their security clearances.
Lawmakers in both the House and Senate are looking into the allegations, with King's committee devoting four investigators. He said it's not yet clear whether he'll call hearings on the matter. He, too, said he's standing behind Sullivan.
From Google News
Port Huron shines a light on crime
Partnership offers motion-activated lighting
What started as a political science homework assignment for Brad Genaw has morphed into a community effort to light the darkest corners of Port Huron.
The 18-year-old Port Huron resident said when he wrote a letter to Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, in the late fall for his class at St. Clair County Community College, it was like “writing a letter to Santa.” He never thought anything would come of it. He didn't even know if she'd read it.
But on Tuesday Genaw got a surprise. The Port Huron Police Department had a press conference announcing a new program called “Light Up the City.”
Chief Michael Reaves said it started with Genaw's letter, which was forwarded to him from Miller's office.
Genaw wrote in his letter he had concerns with an alley behind his White Street home not being lighted. A light fixture that had been on a neighboring garage was removed when the residents left the city nearly a year ago, and reports of vandalism and criminal activities in the alley weren't uncommon.
Police Cpl. Lee Heighton said after hearing of Genaw's complaint and others like it, he sought a solution.
While the police department couldn't do much more than file a report, Heighton reached out to local clergy, businesses and electricians.
In just a few weeks, the partnerships were formed and ready to move forward.
“Problem solving, we feel, is an important part of community policing,” Reaves said.
The program will offer motion-activated lights for outbuildings in city neighborhoods. Businesses, including Gill-Roy's Hardware, Mortimer Lumber, Home Depot, Lowe's, Sam's Club and Wal-Mart, either will sell the lights at cost or donate them to the program for free.
And local electricians, including those at Ainsworth Electric and Stephenson Electric, said they'll donate their time to install the lights.
“We're interested in bringing our community back to what it once was,” said Dennis Smith of Stephenson Electric.
When Reaves asked if they'd be willing to install as many lights as they could get, Smith didn't waste any time thinking about the answer.
“Bring them on,” he said.
Faith-based organizations also agreed to help coordinate the efforts.
“When darkness is here and a light is turned on — darkness has got to flee,” said the Rev. Tom Seppo of Operation Transformation.
Genaw said he was shocked to see his one letter started the movement.
“I really couldn't believe one letter could spark all of this,” he said.
Lighting dark alleys is just the beginning of the police department's efforts, Reaves said.
“House by house, block by block, alley by alley, whatever it takes to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” he said.
Reaves hopes to expand the program and make sure it lasts for years to come.
While a light might not seem like much, Genaw said it will give him and his family an added sense of security when they use the alley. With his grandparents' home on the other side of the alley, he uses it regularly.
“It's a little scary,” he said of walking through the alley in the dark. “You don't know what hoodlums are running around here.”
And the light will do more than assist his home, he said — it will be a deterrent for criminal behavior for the entire block.
“It's going to scare the hell out of them,” Genaw said.
The teen said the fact officials stepped up to solve his problem was a reminder to speak up.
“People are starting to lose their way, they're starting to lose the courage to say something,” Genaw said. “I feel like finally there is someone out there that cares.”
“The security and safety of our homes and neighborhoods is so important and takes everyone to actively look out for one another. I applaud Brad Genaw for taking the security of his neighborhood to heart.
“I also extend my thanks to the Port Huron Police Department and all of the businesses and organizations who have provided their time and funds to make this program a reality,” Miller said in a statement.
“Brad is a great example of a young person who recognized the need for additional safety measures and proactively sought a solution.
“ Through this new program, the entire community is able to come together and make improvements – all because of the amazing citizenship of one person.”