The Secret Service Prostitution Scandal: One Year Later

By: Shane Harris

A year ago, revelations that Secret Service agents had hired prostitutes during a presidential trip to Cartagena, Colombia, triggered the most embarrassing incident in the 148-year-old agency’s history. Was it a one-time incident or part of a pattern of agents behaving badly? 

That's the question I tackle in a feature story in the current issue of the magazine. The truth is, such late-night outings aren’t all that unusual. Some of the men in Cartagena had hired hookers on the road before. At least one had had long-distance affairs with women he’d met in bars while traveling with two Presidents. And all of them could believe, based on prior experience, that while the Secret Service's top leaders didn’t expressly condone womanizing and solicitation, they didn’t go out of their way to stamp out such behavior, either.