Two Secret Service supervisors have been fired from President Obama's detail after they were discovered sending sexually suggestive e-mails to a subordinate female agent. The investigation started when Ignacio Zamora Jr., a senior supervisor, was discovered trying to force his way into a woman's hotel room where he had accidentally left a bullet from his weapon. Looking into the incident, officials discovered the e-mails sent by him and Timothy Barraclough, another supervisor.
Zamora, a veteran agent and shift commander at the top rungs of Obama’s protective detail, previously headed first lady Laura Bush’s protective detail. In Bush’s memoir, she called Zamora one of a handful of agents she relied on to keep her safe just after the attacks on 9/11. Barraclough became part of the presidential protective detail four years ago.
"The Hay-Adams, which overlooks the White House and served as the Obama family’s temporary home before the president’s first inauguration, is accustomed to seeing Secret Service agents on and off duty. One night in May, hotel staff alerted the White House about odd behavior by an agent demanding access to one of their guest’s rooms.
Colette Marquez, the Hay-Adams’s general manager, declined to comment when asked about the incident.
According the Secret Service’s internal findings, Zamora was off duty when he met a woman at the hotel’s Off the Record bar and later joined her in her room.
The review found that Zamora had removed ammunition from the chamber of his government-issued handgun during his stay in the room and then left behind a single bullet. He returned to the room when he realized his mistake. The guest refused to let him back in. Zamora identified himself to hotel security as a Secret Service agent.
The incident led to an investigation that included a routine search of Zamora’s government-issued BlackBerry, which contained sexually charged messages to the female agent, according to the people briefed on the findings."
The review of the communications then revealed that Barraclough had also sent inappropriate and suggestive messages to the female agent, whose name is not revealed because she has not been disciplined.
Last year, sterling reputation of the Secret Service was rocked by the most damaging scandal in the service's history. After a night of heavy drinking while in Colombia, agents returned to their rooms in Cartagena accompanied by prostitutes. The agency suddenly became the subject of congressional hearings, multiple investigations and questions about whether it had fostered a male-dominated culture of sexism and partying.
Bill Hillburg, a spokesman for the DHS Office of Inspector General, declined to say whether the Hay-Adams case was part of the review to be included in an upcoming report on Secret Service culture. The review is intended to answer whether the behavior of the agents in Cartagena was an anomaly, or the result of a broader culture that included "excessive partying and womanizing."
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