Washington • Seeking to restore its reputation tarnished by a prostitution scandal, the Secret Service late Friday tightened conduct rules for its agents to prohibit them from drinking excessively, visiting disreputable establishments while traveling or taking foreigners to their hotel rooms, according to three people briefed on the changes.
All of them spoke on condition of anonymity because the agency had not yet announced the new policies publicly.
The agency-wide changes were intended to staunch the embarrassing disclosures since April 13, when a prostitution scandal erupted in Colombia involving 12 Secret Service agents, officers and supervisors and 12 enlisted military personnel who were there ahead of President Barack Obama's visit to a South American summit.
The Secret Service already forced eight employees from their jobs and was seeking to revoke the security clearance of another employee, which would effectively force him to resign.
The new guidelines
The Secret Service circulated "enhanced standards of conduct" on Friday from Director Mark Sullivan in response to the prostitution scandal in Colombia.
Highlights of the guidelines:
Standards of conduct briefings for all protective visits and events.
Briefings by the State Department in the region for Secret Service personnel upon their arrival about areas and establishments deemed off-limits.
No foreign nationals, excluding hotel staff and official law enforcement counterparts, are allowed in hotel rooms.
Patronizing nonreputable establishments is prohibited.
Alcohol to be consumed only in moderate amounts while off duty on a (temporary) assignment and alcohol use is prohibited within 10 hours of reporting for duty.
Banning alcohol consumption at hotel once the protective visit has begun.
On at least some trips, two senior supervisors including one from the Secret Service's Office of Professional Responsibility will chaperone trips. Their responsibilities include briefing the standards of conduct prior to the departure and enforcing the rules in-country.
To be eligible for travel, service personnel must complete relevant ethics training.