US Secret Service ‘bans drinking, social media use’ in wake of ‘prostitution scandal’

Washington, Oct. 5: The US Secret Service has formally adopted new policies on the use of alcohol and social media, banning excessive drinking and use of social networking sites.

The Secret Service’s move comes five months after more than a dozen employees were accused of drunken partying with prostitutes in Colombia, a few days before President Barack Obama was to arrive in Cartagena to attend an economic summit.

Agency Director Mark Sullivan and members of Congress said that the rules had to be codified to prevent incidents like the one in Cartagena in April from occurring.

According to the Washington Post, the code of conduct also sought to make offensive behavior fireable.

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said the alcohol policy is a formal adoption of rules proposed and discussed at length in the wake of the Cartagena investigation.

The alcohol policy requires agents not to have alcoholic drinks 10 hours before reporting for work. During official trips, it bans drinking alcohol in the hotel where the president or any other dignitary is staying.

“Alcohol may only be consumed in moderate amounts while off-duty on a [temporary duty] assignment and alcohol use is prohibited within 10 hours of reporting for duty,” a copy of the policy reads, adding: “Alcohol may not be consumed at the protectee hotel once the protective visit has begun.”

According to the report, the social media policy has been made to prevent problems that can arise when government employees use Facebook and other social sharing sites for work or personal reasons.

In the wake of the Cartagena scandal, it was revealed that one of the supervisory agents implicated had previously joked on Facebook about ‘checking out’ Sarah Palin, while assigned to protect the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2008. (ANI)