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Secret Service Staffers Sent Home After Incident In South Korea As Biden Arrived

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Two members of the U.S. Secret Service were sent home after a booze-fueled incident that involved local police just before President Joe Biden landed in South Korea early on Friday morning.

“Two U.S. Secret Service employees have been sent back to the U.S. from South Korea and placed on administrative leave after they were allegedly involved in an off-duty incident, the agency said Friday,” NBC News reported.

ABC News alleges that the two agents went bar-hopping after dinner and one of the agents wound up in a confrontation with a taxi driver.

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“The Secret Service is aware of an off-duty incident involving two employees which may constitute potential policy violations,” agency spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement. “The individuals will be immediately returned back to their post of duty and placed on administrative leave. There was no impact to the upcoming trip. We have very strict protocols and policies for all employees and we hold ourselves to the highest professional standards. Given this is an active administrative personnel matter, we are not in a position to comment further.”

Biden landed early Friday in Pyeongtaek for his first presidential visit to Asia.

“We have launched an investigation involving a member of President Biden’s security team member and a South Korean man,” Choi Eul-chan, director of the detective division at Yongsan Police Station, said Friday by phone.

The incident occurred around 4:20 a.m. local time on Thursday, according to South Korean police.

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“He pushed the Korean man once. The Korean man had made the police report immediately following the incident. He demanded that the security person be punished for assaulting him,” Choi said.

Local authorities have conducted an investigation into “both people” and plan to “follow through the case based on and according to South Korean law,” he added.

Secret Service incidents are common with Joe Biden.

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ABC News details how back this incident is similar to the 2012 scandal in which Secret Service employees were investigated for drinking heavily and hiring prostitutes while preparing for a trip by then-President Barack Obama to Cartagena, Colombia.

Biden was the vice president at the time of this scandal.

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“Of the 13 agents first suspected of soliciting prostitutes in Cartagena, three were cleared of wrongdoing and returned to duty, six resigned or retired, and four had their security clearances revoked or were removed, according to a report by the Homeland Security Department inspector general issued in December 2013. According to the report, the agents in Colombia consumed as many as 13 alcoholic drinks before engaging in questionable behavior,” ABC reported.

“The Secret Service conducts thousands of advances for protectees each year, including for the president overseas,” said retired senior Secret Service agent Don Mihalek, an ABC News contributor. “Through it all, the president has been kept safe and few incidents have arisen. Despite that, the Secret Service is made up of people, some who make mistakes. When they do though, the response has been thorough to ensure that the integrity of the mission is always maintained.”

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