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Secret Service agents sent home after one found passed out in Amsterdam

By Evan Perez, CNN
March 26, 2014 -- Updated 1136 GMT (1936 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 3 Secret Service agents are disciplined over an incident in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam
  • They had been sent there to prepare for President Barack Obama's upcoming visit
  • Official: One of them was found drunk in a hotel hallway
  • The incident comes two years after a Secret Service prostitution scandal in Colombia

(CNN) -- Three Secret Service agents were sent home after one of them was found passed out after a night of drinking in Amsterdam, an official familiar with the incident told CNN.

The agents were in the Netherlands as part of a contingent preparing for President Barack Obama's visit there this week.

According to the official, one Secret Service agent was found intoxicated and passed out in the hallway of his hotel. Hotel staff subsequently alerted U.S. authorities.

This agent and two other agents -- who were his companions on a night out drinking in the Dutch capital -- were disciplined by being sent home Sunday for not exercising better judgment.

U.S. President Barack Obama tours the Colosseum in Rome on Thursday, March 27. Click through to see other photos from Obama's trip to Europe this week. U.S. President Barack Obama tours the Colosseum in Rome on Thursday, March 27. Click through to see other photos from Obama's trip to Europe this week.
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Confirming that three agents went home for disciplinary reasons, Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan added an investigation is underway.

The story was first reported by The Washington Post.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday that Obama had been briefed on the incident.

"Generally, the President believes, as he has said in the past, that everybody representing the United States of America overseas needs to hold himself or herself to the highest standards and he supports(Secret Service Director Julia Pierson's) zero-tolerance approach on these matters," Carney said.

The agents are blamed for not doing more to prevent another embarrassment for the 150-year-old agency, whose mission includes investigating crimes such as counterfeiting and credit card fraud in addition to protecting top U.S. figures, including presidents.

One of the biggest, most recent black eyes came nearly two years ago and also involved an advance team ahead of an Obama visit to Colombia for the Summit of the Americas.

In that case, Secret Service agents hit the clubs of Cartagena for a night of drinking that ended with bringing prostitutes back to their hotel.

The agency immediately pulled 11 agents allegedly involved in the scandal from Obama's security detail, put them on administrative leave and removed their security clearances. In addition, 12 military personnel also were cited for their role.

Several government reports later examined the incident, looking into not just what happened but how the Secret Service handled the matter.

The agency has instituted tougher disciplinary rules in the wake of the Cartagena scandal.

2 Secret Service supervisors under investigation in misconduct probe

Report: No problem with Secret Service response to Colombia scandal

Reports include allegations of misconduct

Secret Service, hire more women

CNN's Greg Botelho contributed to this report.

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