Two US Secret Service agents tasked with helping prepare for President Joe Biden’s visit to South Korea were sent home before the commander-in-chief even arrived, following allegations that they were involved in a drunken altercation.
Two agents bar-hopped in Seoul on Thursday morning, while one was off duty. One of the men allegedly attacked a taxi driver near the Grand Hyatt Hotel, where Biden was due to be staying. South Korean police claimed that one of them was taken into custody, while an unidentified US official confirmed that he had only been released. “investigated.”
“The Secret Service is aware of an off-duty incident involving two employees which may constitute potential policy violations,”Anthony Guglielmi, agency spokesperson, stated in a statement. “The individuals will be immediately returned back to their post of duty and placed on administrative leave. There was no impact to the upcoming trip.”
Local media reported that a fellow hotel guest called police to report an altercation. The two men, who were identified only as a special agent and a security specialist, were part of Biden’s advance team. They were reportedly sent home on Friday, shortly before the US president’s arrival in Seoul for the start of his five-day trip to Asia.
The media did not provide any information on the circumstances of the altercation between the driver and the taxi driver. CBS News reported that Secret Service agents will be investigating whether they were drunk during the altercation, instead of probing the assault.
“We have very strict protocols and policies for all employees, and we hold ourselves to the highest professional standards,”Guglielmi spoke. “Given this is an active administrative personnel matter, we are not in a position to comment further.”
The Secret Service is responsible for the protection of current and past US leaders as well their families. This scandal isn’t the first to involve the Secret Service. In 2014, three agents who were helping to prepare for President Barack Obama’s visit to Amsterdam were sent back to the US after a night of drinking. One of them was found unconscious in the corridor of his hotel.
For alleged crimes against humanity, eleven Secret Service Agents were returned from Colombia in 2012. “misconduct,”Including drunken partying, and the solicitation of prostitutes. The agents were assigned to ensure Obama’s safety at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena. The incident came to light when one of the prostitutes refused to leave an agent’s hotel room, after a dispute over payment for her services.