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Source: Secret Service agent dead of apparent suicide

By Carol Cratty, CNN
November 2, 2012 -- Updated 0304 GMT (1104 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rafael Prieto was a 20-year veteran of the Secret Service
  • He was assigned to President Obama's protective detail
  • Authorities were looking into a suspected long-term relationship with a foreign national
  • A law enforcement source says his death last Saturday was an apparent suicide

Washington (CNN) -- A Secret Service agent suspected of having a romantic relationship with a Mexican woman is dead of an apparent suicide, a law enforcement official told CNN Thursday.

The source said Rafael Prieto, 48, was assigned to President Obama's protective detail.

The Secret Service confirmed Thursday that Prieto's death last Saturday is currently being investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, along with the medical examiner's office. No official determination of death has been made.

Prieto's access to Secret Service facilities had been suspended while authorities were looking into his apparently unreported and long-term relationship with a foreign national, the law enforcement official said.

"There is nothing to indicate that any classified or sensitive information was compromised as a result of this relationship," according to the source.

The official said Prieto was involved in an "administrative process" about his connection with the woman but that he was not under investigation by the Secret Service's Office of Professional Responsibility.

Prieto could have been in violation of Secret Service protocols if he had not informed superiors about a personal relationship with a foreign national. Such relationships came under a spotlight after agents sent to Cartagena, Colombia, in advance of President Obama's trip earlier this year spent time partying with prostitutes.

"Rafael Prieto had a distinguished 20-year career with the Secret Service that was marked by accomplishment, dedication, and friendships," said Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan. "The Secret Service is mourning the loss of a valued colleague."

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