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Public hearing scheduled on Secret Service prostitution scandal

By the CNN Wire Staff
May 14, 2012 -- Updated 0224 GMT (1024 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • New: Rep. King says he declined a meeting with one of the prostitutes
  • Lieberman: The Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing will take place May 23, Lieberman says
  • The Secret Service director will testify, he says

(CNN) -- The Senate Homeland Security Committee has scheduled a public hearing on the prostitution scandal involving U.S. military and Secret Service agents in Colombia.

The hearing will take place May 23, Sen. Joe Lieberman, the committee chairman, told CNN's "State of the Union."

Lieberman's is one of four congressional committees looking into the incident.

Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan and Acting Inspector General Charles Edwards will testify, Lieberman said.

The committee will ask whether Sullivan is satisfied with the investigation into what occurred in Cartagena, Colombia, Lieberman said.

Secondly, Lieberman said, the committee will ask, "Were there indications before the Colombian scandal of behavior by Secret Service agents off duty on assignment that should have been a warning that this was coming?"

"And third, what are you going to do, Director Sullivan, to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again."

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Two weeks ago, the committee sent Sullivan a list of questions to answer by Monday.

The incident, which transpired a month ago in advance of President Obama's trip to the Summit of the Americas, was "heartbreaking" and "dangerous," said Lieberman, an Independent from Connecticut.

It involved roughly 20 alleged prostitutes, and has so far resulted in the dismissal of nine Secret Service members.

Three other Secret Service agents were cleared of serious misconduct.

The military is investigating the alleged involvement of 12 service members.

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Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has said there is no evidence the president's security was put at risk due to the incident. He noted that the president's schedule was not kept in the hotel rooms of any service members believed to be involved in the scandal.

Sen. John McCain, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, said no classified information or weapons were present at the Hotel Caribe, where the alleged incident occurred.

Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, announced Sunday that he declined a request from one of the Colombian prostitutes that he meet with her.

An attorney for Dania Londono Suarez contacted the committee with the request, he said in a statement.

"While such a meeting -- and the inevitable circus atmosphere surrounding it -- would no doubt be of great interest to the media covering this story, a meeting with her is simply not necessary at this time for the committee to conduct a serious and thorough investigation. For now, I have directed my staff to communicate with and gather information about the misconduct from the woman via her attorney."

Secret Service investigators have interviewed her, King said.

Londono gave a lengthy, wide-ranging interview to Colombia's W Radio on Friday.

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