Susan's Feed
May 21, 2012

US Senate approves new Iran sanctions bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate gave unanimous approval on Monday to a package of new economic sanctions on Iran’s oil sector just days ahead of a meeting in Baghdad between major world powers and Tehran.

The West suspects Iran is working to build a nuclear bomb and the sanctions are meant to strip Tehran of revenue by shutting down financial deals with Iran’s powerful state oil and tanker enterprises. Iran has said its nuclear program is for civilian purposes.

May 17, 2012

U.S. lawmakers want to halt aid to nations hosting Sudan’s Bashir

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A House of Representatives committee voted on Thursday to cut off economic aid to any country that hosts Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide and other crimes.

The provision is not yet law, and could change as foreign aid legislation moves through Congress this year. It was approved by the House Appropriations Committee as part of that legislation, which would slash spending on the U.S. State Department and foreign assistance by some 9 percent.

Apr 29, 2012

U.S. military faces scrutiny over its prostitution policies

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – No one talks tougher against prostitution than the U.S. military.

Even in countries where prostitution is legal, military personnel violating a seven-year-old Department of Defense policy against paying for sex face up to a year in jail and dishonorable discharge if caught.

Apr 28, 2012

U.S. Secret Service limits alcohol, hotel guests on trips abroad

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Heavy drinking and bringing foreign nationals back to hotel rooms on trips abroad is now banned by the U.S. Secret Service in the wake of a growing scandal over allegations that agents consorted with prostitutes in Colombia this month.

The new rules of conduct issued on Friday also ban visits to “non-reputable establishments,” presumably including strip clubs, and say staff must obey U.S. laws even while abroad. A copy was provided to Reuters by the Secret Service, and a spokesman said they were effective immediately.

Apr 27, 2012

U.S. House panel may send scandal investigators to Colombia

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A congressional committee is considering sending investigators to Colombia in the coming weeks to gather information in an expanded probe of alleged Secret Service misconduct with prostitutes, the chairman said on Friday.

Representative Peter King, the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, said his staff will move to a “full-scale” investigation after it receives answers to 50 questions the panel posed to Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan about this month’s incident.

Apr 27, 2012

Secret Service expands misconduct probe to El Salvador

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Secret Service is examining a new report of alleged misconduct by agents at an El Salvador strip club ahead of a trip there last year by President Barack Obama, senior lawmakers said on Thursday.

Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan is looking into the report but has so far not found anything “credible” to back it up, Representative Elijah Cummings told reporters outside the U.S. House of Representatives.

Apr 26, 2012

Secret Service expands misconduct probe to El Salvador: lawmaker

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Secret Service is examining a new report of alleged misconduct by agents at an El Salvador strip club ahead of a trip there last year by President Barack Obama, a senior lawmaker said on Thursday.

Representative Peter King, a Republican who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement to Reuters that the review is part of an extensive investigation the Secret Service is conducting in the aftermath of an incident involving prostitutes in Columbia.

Apr 25, 2012

Prostitute scandal posed no risk to Obama: Napolitano

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s safety was not jeopardized by the actions of Secret Service agents who brought prostitutes back to a Colombia hotel on the eve of his arrival, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano assured a Senate committee Wednesday.

“There was no risk to the president,” she told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in the first public questioning of an administration official since the scandal broke as Obama prepared to visit Cartagena for a summit.

Apr 25, 2012

Two more Secret Service agents resign; Obama blames “knuckleheads”

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two more U.S. Secret Service agents are resigning over a Colombia prostitution scandal, the agency said on Tuesday, as it sought to close a chapter in its worst case of alleged misconduct in decades.

Even as the Secret Service announced the fates of all of the remaining employees under investigation, President Barack Obama defended those tasked with protecting him, saying a “couple of knuckleheads” should not discredit the entire agency.

Apr 24, 2012

U.S. government agency rules vary on specifying misbehavior

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. government agencies that send employees abroad on business have widely varying rules about personal behavior while on assignment and the consequences of violations, a problem that some lawmakers want to fix in response to a scandal this month involving Secret Service agents and Colombia prostitutes.

Reuters asked about half-a-dozen federal agencies whose employees frequently travel overseas whether they had specific rules on engaging with prostitutes or similar behavior.