Representative Peter King on the Secret Service Scandal

Representative Peter King on the Secret Service Scandal

By The Situation Room - April 20, 2012

BLITZER: Top lawmakers in Congress continue to demand answers about the secret service prostitution scandal and why it was allowed to happen.

And joining us now, the chairman of the House Homeland Security committee, Congressman Peter King. Congressman, what can you tell us about these two secret service agents that we already know have been forced out, David Chaney and Greg Stokes?

REP. PETER KING, (R) HOMELAND SECURITY CHAIRMAN: Actually, Wolf, it's still -- even though they've been removed, there's still an ongoing investigation. As far as details, the secret service is keeping them sort at close hold, and I would really rather not discuss it in public because what involves those two could pertain to some of the other nine. And I don't want to compromise the ongoing investigation.

BLITZER: Because in principle, the fact that supervisors, apparently, were also involved, that raises serious questions that there was a cultural problem. This may not have been the first time something like this happened. What's your assessment?

KING: Well, the fact that supervisors were involved is really indefensible and that's the job of a supervisor. The senior agent is to stop these things from happening. I don't know if it was the culture or not. I don't want to make that step until we find evidence of it. If it turns out there is evidence, that's one thing, but right now, I prefer to say that the right actions have been taken.

Three men who were employees are no longer working for the secret service. And again, supervisors have a special responsibility, but to say that that necessarily means that there's a culture, I don't want to make that stuff yet. I have a great regard for the secret service, and unless, we have the evidence, I don't want to jump to that conclusion.

I've been talking to Director Sullivan at the last several days. What he told me when we met face-to-face on Tuesday is that as soon as he gets evidence on any of the agents which he thinks is legally sufficient and his lawyers say he can move, he is going to take tough, strong personal action against him.

So, as evidence comes in, as the investigation goes forward, and as (INAUDIBLE), once it reaches the level which he thinks is necessary and his lawyers say it's acceptable, he's going to take action. So, that's why I think we can expect to see action today and even, perhaps, you know, over the next several days.

BLITZER: And you still have confidence in Mark Sullivan, the director of the secret service.

KING: Wolf, since this started, since he first learned about it, last Thursday afternoon until today, everything I've seen, he's doing the right thing. He moved effectively and quickly right at the start, and he's continued to do that. From all I know and have heard and seen, this is a very tough and thorough investigation that following every lead, pursuing every lead.

And so, yes, the only way to judge him is how did he react when he first learned about it. After the moment he learned about it, he has moved quickly, and swiftly, and effectively.

BLITZER: We know the investigation is focusing in on members of the secret service and members of the U.S. military who may have been involved in this prostitution ring. Do you have any indication at all that White House staffers are also being investigated?

KING: Wolf, all I'm here is probably the same room as you are (ph). I'm focused on the secret service. As chairman of the homeland security committee, the secret service is within my jurisdiction. I'm not going into the lane of the military or the White House. That is for others. I am focused entirely on the secret service. That's my responsibility and that's what I intend to stay focused on.

Obviously, if I hear anything, if the investigations overlap, that's one thing. But right now, I don't see that. The investigation of the secret service is conducting and what I'm doing is focused entirely on the secret service.

BLITZER: Do you know if U.S. investigators on the scene in Colombia who had access have been able to question the women who were involved?

KING: My understanding is they've not yet spoken to the women, even though that may have changed today. They spoke to the maids who were in the rooms, but my understanding is they have not made contact with the secret service as of, at least, as of yesterday or this morning.

BLITZER: One final question, David Chaney, one of the secret service agents who was relieved and has been in the secret service since 1987, he is the one that on his Facebook page posted that some would regard as a snarky comment about Sarah Palin when he was on her detail when she was a vice presidential nominee saying, I'm checking her out and something along those lines. That's obviously totally inappropriate. When you heard about that, what went through your mind?

KING: Yes. That really bothered me. And believe me, I'm no moralist, but when you're talking about protecting, it's your job to be protecting someone, especially when that person is female, to be making those types of remarks, to be posting them is absolutely indefensible. It's entirely unprofessional.

And again, it really raises serious questions about him, because again, you have an obligation to the person you're protecting. You have an obligation to the secret service which has the professional duty to protect the president and the vice president, and obviously, there were sexist remarks about Sarah Palin, but any remark whether it was again President Obama or John McCain or George Bush or Joe Biden.

You cannot make any type of remark and post it. Your own private thoughts and if you don't like someone or whatever, that's one thing, but to be going public and letting the world know how you feel, it really -- it does put a cloud over it because we are under the absolute belief and impression that no matter how a secret service agent feels toward someone, they're going to guard them totally professionally.

And when you see that type of thing, it just makes you wonder. It was wrong. Totally unprofessional.

BLITZER: All right. Congressman Peter King, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, thanks very much, as usual.

KING: Wolf, thank you. 

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