Washington, DC -- A senior Republican on the Senate's homeland security committee says at least 20 foreign women were involved in an incident in Colombia involving Secret Service agents, military personnel and prostitutes.
We spoke with Martin Kifer, a political science professor from High Point University. Kifer says public opinion data shows Americans trust the Secret Service.
He says the reported incident "is something that can hurt their reputation. One of the things though when we talk about the impact internationally, is that we do know that foreign governments and foreign officials look at US personnel and what they do and this is a shocking and disappointing thing." However, Kifer says this likely isn't the most damaging thing to happen in foreign policy in the past few weeks.
We also asked Kifer what the potential impact on the president and his campaign. Kifer says President Barack Obama would have preferred to talk about positive things that came out of his meeting in Colombia, including free trade. He doesn't think there's a big impact right now on the President's campaign, but we will have to wait and see.
Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins said Tuesday that Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan told her that 20 or 21 foreign women were brought to the hotel where 11 Secret Service agents and Marines were before President Barack Obama's visit to Colombia. Those Secret service agents have been recalled and interviewed, Collins said Sullivan reported. But Collins said she remains concerned about whether any of the women posed a security threat to the United States or Obama.
Pentagon officials said Monday that as many as 10 military members may have been involved. Congressional committees are looking into the matter.