A woman identifying herself as the escort who had a confrontation with a Secret Service agent who refused to pay her fee spoke publically during a paid interview on a Colombian radio network. NBC's Mark Potter reports.
A woman identifying herself as the Colombian prostitute at the center of a scandal involving U.S. Secret Service agents spoke publicly about the incident for the first time on Friday, telling a Colombian radio network that, had she been a terrorist, she could have easily pried loose details of President Barack Obama’s planned visit to Cartagena from the liquored-up agents.
“At that moment, if I had wanted to, or if I had been part of one of those terrorist groups, it's obvious I would have been able to get everything," the woman, Dania Londono Suarez, told Caracol Radio.
Suarez said the Secret Service personnel did not consume drugs, but “bought alcohol like one buys water” while partying at a discotheque in the tourist destination before inviting some of the “escorts” to return with them to the Hotel Caribe, where many members of Obama’s security detail were staying.
Suarez said she didn't know if there were other girls or how many agents were involved. "I was at the bar with another girl, but left with him by myself. I was the only one."
Suarez said she made clear that she expected to be paid before departing with the agent whose refusal to pay her led to exposure of the misconduct.
“I was at a disco and he came over and told me 'sex,'" she said. "... I said, 'Baby, Cash, Money,' that I wanted money. He said, 'OK, baby. How much?' 'Eight hundred.' He told me, 'Eight hundred. OK, let's go. Come, come to hotel.'
"It was obvious. I can't believe he would be so dumb or so stupid to think I wasn't going to charge him money."
But she said that the agent had a change of heart when they awoke in his room about 6 a.m.
“When he was drunk he was the nicest guy, but when he woke up sober, he was another person,” Suarez said. “When I asked him for the money, he told me ‘Let go, bitch.’ He pushed me into the hallway and closed the door. He wouldn't come out. I kept pounding on the door. Hotel security came. The called the head of the hotel's security and I explained what happened to him on the phone.”
NBC's Kristen Welker discusses an interview Friday by a Colombian woman who says she was at the center of the recent Secret Service prostitution scandal.
Suarez, who has a 9-year-old son, said she traveled to Dubai after the incident but had returned to Colombia despite concern that she could face retaliation from the tarnished Secret Service personnel.
"I fear they will retaliate against me," she said. "I left my country, practically fled. Yes I am scared. I fear or my family and for my son. No one has threatened me, no one has come to see me, but their marriages have been wrecked, they're sharp shooters, because I've been doing some research and I know they do that."
She also said her career as an escort is over: "I do not plan to that ever again," she said. "They ruined my life. They should have never published my pictures, my name."
The Secret Service has declined to comment on the interview. According to an official with the Secret Service the agency is close to completing its internal investigation of the incident, which occurred prior to the Summit of the Americas on April 14-15.
The 12 Secret Service personnel at the center of the investigation were among 175 members of the service in Colombia during Obama’s visit. They were among 135 staying at the Hotel Caribe, the source said.
Seven of those members of the agency have resigned, one has been terminated and one has retired, NBC News has reported previously. Three others have been cleared of serious misconduct but given administrative punishment.
Meantime, a separate investigation into U.S. military personnel who were allegedly involved in the incident has been concluded and forwarded to a commander for review, military and defense officials tell NBC News.
According to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the U.S. military investigator looking into the incident zeroed in on a dozen uniformed personnel assigned to the security operation -- seven Army personnel (six Special Forces Green Berets and one White House communications specialist); two Navy bomb detection specialists, two Marine dog handlers and one member of the Air Force whose duties were not specified.
SOUTHCOM commander Gen. Douglas Frazier will review the report and determine what, if any, punishment should be meted out. Once he formally accepts the findings of the investigation, he has four options:
- Clear any or all the individuals of any wrongdoing.
- Administrative action (a letter of reprimand, usually a career-ender).
- Non-Judicial punishment (reduction in rank and pay).
- Criminal charges and court martial.
In the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, consorting with or procuring the services of a prostitute is prohibited and considered a criminal act.
Erika Angulo is an NBC News producer based in Miami; NBC's Chief Pentagon Correspondent Jim Miklaszewski and Kristen Welker of NBC's Washington, D.C., bureau also contributed to this report.
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