WASHINGTON - Two U.S. Secret Service officers are under investigation and have been removed from President Barack Obama's detail following allegations of misconduct, according to The Washington Post.
The allegations do not appear to involve a direct breach of Obama's security, but rather sexually-related misconduct, recalling previous scandals that have cast a spotlight on the service and its traditionally male-dominated culture.
The investigation stems from an incident during the spring at the Hay-Adams Hotel, an upscale hotel steps away from the White House, involving a senior supervisor responsible for about two dozen agents in the presidential security detail. The Post reported on its website that supervisor Ignacio Zamora Jr., was allegedly discovered trying to re-enter the room of a woman he had met in the hotel's bar after accidentally leaving a bullet from his service weapon in her hotel room.
After the woman refused to let him back in, Zamora sought access from hotel staff, who notified the White House, a Secret Service review found. In the subsequent probe, investigators came across sexually suggestive emails that Zamora and another supervisor, Timothy Barraclough, had sent to a female subordinate, the newspaper reported, citing people with knowledge of the case.
Zamora has been pulled from his position, while Barraclough has been moved off the detail to a separate part of the division, people familiar with the case told the Post.
Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan declined to comment on the review or the allegations. The Post said that lawyers for Zamora, Barraclough and the female agent declined to comment. The newspaper said its efforts to reach Zamora and Barraclough directly were unsuccessful. The Associated Press was unable to find a telephone number for either of the men in the Washington area late Wednesday.
The elite service has sought to close a difficult chapter in its storied history that was blighted by a prostitution scandal last year during preparations for Obama's trip to Cartagena, Colombia. Thirteen agents and officers were implicated after an agent argued with a prostitute over payment in a hotel hallway, pointing to a culture of carousing within the agency.
Obama in March named veteran Secret Service agent Julia Pierson as the agency's first female director, signaling his desire to change the culture at the service and restore confidence in its operations.