White House responds to prostitution scandal

It appears the White House interviewed primarily its own staff

The South Portico of the White House in Washington on Friday, May 9, 2014. A bevy of solar panels blanketing the roof of the White House is getting its day in the sun. Technicians have finished installing the panels at the nation’s most famous address. The milestone completes a project that President Barack Obama hopes will send a clear signal that renewable energy is both feasible and environmentally shrewd.
(Associated Press/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(CNN) – Did the White House cover up its own possible connection to the prostitution scandal that snared a number of Secret Service agents?

The White House insists its intern was not given any special treatment, in the aftermath of the 2012 Cartagena prostitution scandal that embroiled some two dozen Secret Service agents and U.S. military, just before a presidential trip to Columbia.

They say a hotel record allegedly showed the intern had a prostitute stay the night, complete with a photocopy of her ID, was nothing more than a slip of paper, not on official stationery, and that a similar record for another suspect in the scandal proved to be false. They also say the intern’s denials were credible.

That intern is now a paid policy adviser in the State Department’s office on global women’s issues. And his father, a Democratic donor, now also works for the government.

Through his lawyer, the former intern again denied wrongdoing, saying, “Neither he nor his father contacted anyone at DHS or the [White House] to seek special treatment – the allegations are false…”

As for claims by a Homeland Security investigator that higher-ups told him to keep evidence involving the White House intern out of the final report – including a claim that at least one Secret Service agent said he saw the intern with a woman he believed to be a prostitute – the White House refers back to the bipartisan Senate investigation of all this, that could not substantiate the allegation of a cover-up.

Back then, Jay Carney, former White House Press Secretary said, “There have been no specific, credible allegations of misconduct by anyone on the White House advance team or the White House staff.”

Yet what remains are questions about whether the White House’s own investigation went far enough, or nearly as far as that of the Secret Service agents.

Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz, at the forefront of the current investigation into Secret Service blunders, wrote a letter to the White House Chief of Staff requesting all documents related to the White House review, saying, “…it is unclear how the White House came to its conclusion. Did the White House conduct a thorough and exhaustive review?”

So now that the Secret Service is under heavy scrutiny again, they are asking whether they were held to a different standard than the White House intern. They were subject to polygraph tests. Chaffetz is asking whether the White House bothered to even interview agents who supposedly saw the intern with an alleged prostitute.

Now it’s unclear whether that would even be enough evidence against the intern, or could be substantiated. It appears right now, the White House interviewed primarily its own staff.

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