Obama Administration

Obama Administration Officials Knew About a Possible White House Link to an Advance Team Prostitution Scandal—and Covered It Up

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In the midst of the 2012 reelection campaign, the White House appears to have covered up a story involving a presidential advance team member, a prostitute, and Secret Service agents, allowing the Secret Service to take the fall while denying the involvement of anyone on the advance-team.

That's the takeaway from a damning Washington Post report which finds that, according to both documentary and interview evidence, "senior White House aides were given information at the time suggesting that a prostitute was an overnight guest in the hotel room of a presidential advance-team member — yet that information was never thoroughly investigated or publicly acknowledged."

The story here revolves around a 2012 incident in which Secret Service agents were accused of drinking to excess and hiring a prostitute during a trip to Cartegena, Columbia, in preparation for a trip to the city by President Obama. Ten Secret Service agents were eventually fired in the scandal, but the White House publicly insisted that no administration staffer was involved.

Former White House press secretary Jay Carney, for example, said in April 2012 that "there have been no specific, credible allegations of misconduct by anyone on the White House advance team or the White House staff," and that after, a review, the White House's council's office said that no member of the advance team was involved in "improper" behavior.

On the contrary, according to the Post, another investigation within the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general's office found evidence suggesting that a White House advance team member was, in fact, involved. An investigator on the case contends that the evidence to that effect was suppressed:

The lead investigator later told Senate staffers that he felt pressure from his superiors in the office of Charles K. Edwards, who was then the acting inspector general, to withhold evidence — and that, in the heat of an election year, decisions were being made with political considerations in mind.

"We were directed at the time .?.?. to delay the report of the investigation until after the 2012 election," David Nieland, the lead investigator on the Colombia case for the DHS inspector general's office, told Senate staffers, according to three people with knowledge of his statement.

Nieland added that his superiors told him "to withhold and alter certain information in the report of investigation because it was potentially embarrassing to the administration."

 The Post reports that those in the IG's office who wanted to pursue questions about White House involvement were dealt with:

Within the inspector general's office, investigators and their bosses fought heatedly with each other over whether to pursue White House team members' possible involvement. Office staffers who raised questions about a White House role said they were put on administrative leave as a punishment for doing so. 

Not surprisingly, the Secret Service wasn't—and apparently still isn't—pleased with the fact that the White House failed to look into the behavior of its own team members even while many agents were being fired.

Adding to the intrigue is that the advance team member who may have been involved in the incident (his lawyer denies it) was a 25-year-old son of a lobbyist and Obama donor who also ended up working for the administration on the implementation health care law. Back to the Post

Whether the White House volunteer, Jonathan Dach, was involved in wrongdoing in Cartagena, Colombia, remains unclear. Dach, then a 25-year-old Yale University law student, declined to be interviewed, but through his attorney he denied hiring a prostitute or bringing anyone to his hotel room. Dach has long made the same denials to White House officials.

Dach this year started working full time in the Obama administration on a federal contract as a policy adviser in the Office on Global Women's Issues at the State Department.

Dach's father, Leslie Dach, is a prominent Democratic donor who gave $23,900 to the party in 2008 to help elect Obama. In his previous job as a top lobbyist for Wal-Mart, he partnered with the White House on high-profile projects, including Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" campaign.

He, too, joined the Obama administration this year. In July, he was named a senior counselor with the Department of Health and Human Services, where part of his responsibilities include handling the next phase of the Affordable Care Act.

The details are complex, and the actual "misconduct"—hiring a prostitute in Colombia, where it's legal to do so—is perhaps politically embarrassing but hardly misconduct at all, and certainly not the sort of thing likely to swing a not-very-close national election. And yet the administration apparently chose to delay findings and mislead the press about what happened anyway. 

So the short version is this: The administration had evidence indicating that a young advance team member, who was also the child of a lobbyist-and-donor-turned-administration-staffer, was involved in a potentially embarrassing incident with a prostitute while serving as a member of the presidential advance team—and yet explicitly denied that this was the case, and also appears to have pressured independent investigators to delay and withhold evidence until after the election was over.

And the question the story raises is: If the White House was so determined to cover up this embarassing but relatively minor incident, what larger stories has the White House suppressed or covered up that we don't know about?  

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  1. Let me tell you, on my first visit to Colombia, there were hookers. Beautiful colombiana hookers.

    And if questioned, I will lie.
    [but at least I paid the negotiated price and wasn’t a jerk]

  2. Boy, this administration is quite the fake-scandal-generating machine!

    1. Well, if those mean old obstructionist Tealibangelicals in the House had obeyed the Obamessiah’s wishes and done, um, something or another, then it would never have happened.

    2. And every one of them is automatically “debunked” even before anyone hears of them!

  3. Former Wal-Mart (!!) lobbyist donated to President, is hired by the Administration after his lobbying gig was over and his son was given a job on the ACA team? Elizabeth Warren/Krugman/Naomi Klein/every progressive I know is going raise hell over this right? Right??

    1. Well clearly you missed the part where he’s a Democratic donor. So, he’s a perfectly outstanding guy and if any minor issues came up, well being a big shot Democratic lobbyist is a stressful position and it’s all perfectly understandable.

      Oh and Boooshhh!! Or is that squirrel?

    2. You’d at least think an explicitly feminist presidential candidate would have something to say about U.S. government agents hiring hookers while on an official mission.

      1. If Congress finally gets around to closing the pay gap, women wouldn’t need to prostitute themselves.

        And it’s just sex. Are you right-wingers going to indict another president over sex?

        /end prog

        1. Ooh, nice tangent! Congress needs to address the gender pay gap in every city the prezzie travels to. It also needs to consider stronger incentives for affirmative action in Upper Volta.

          /end prog

    3. “every progressive I know is going raise hell over this right? Right??

      lol aah hhahahahahah hahahahaha. heeeyooooo

      ah. sigh. the naivete of youth.

      i’ll be surprised if the spin doesnt blame evil walmart money for perpetuating the exploitation of women and lauding obama’s efforts to reeducate wayward youth by making whoremongering yale grads part of the Global Office of Women and Stuff.

    4. No, its actually worse than that.

      His son, who exploits sex workers, was given a job at the state department office of women affairs!!!!!!

      His dad got the job at the ACA.

      The Dad will be a ACA consultant soon, charging clients a lot of money for his “expertise.”

  4. If the White House was so determined to cover up this embarassing but relatively minor incident, what larger stories has the White House supressed or covered up that we don’t know about?

    WDATPDIM?

    Also, it’s “suppressed”.

    1. Not only that:

      …after, a review, the White House’s council’s office said that no member of the advance team was involved in “improper” behavior

      – No comma after “after”
      – “White House,” not “White House’s”
      – “counsel,” not “council”

      1. Some months ago Reason advertised for proofreaders and turned me down. *Sigh*

        1. They don’t really want to fix the problem. It’s how they keep the base riled up.

        2. Lucy haz a sad, too.

          WAIT! I NEED TO STOP TALKING ABOUT LUCY!!!

  5. Is there anyone left in America that doesn’t realize how corrupt the Obama Administration really is?

    1. At least 40% of the population at a guess.

      1. And an additional 50% more think that the corruption will be “fixed” by installing a different set of criminals.

  6. This sort of behavior is unique to Democrats and, more specifically, to the Obama administration. It could never happen under a Republican President.

    1. And, the claim that this is true appears in the article or the comments where?

      Or is it just from the melodious voices in your head?

      [Don’t listen to them about the kids on the playground, by the way – just a friendly tip…]

    2. That is the sort of thinking that allows things like this to go unpunished.

    3. Well the part where the story didn’t go reported for two years probably wouldn’t have happened under a Republican administration anyway. Honestly, I’m surprised it’s getting reported at this point and not late next month.

      1. Very true. When is someone going to ask Hillary for comment? She should be outraged ‘n’ all about this treatment of women of color by privileged white males.

    4. I know, right? You’d never hear of a Republican president stalling an investigation for political reasons. Especially not if it involved a hotel in some way.

      1. A compliant press is the main problem.

        It leads Democrats to do worse things because they think they will get away with it.

        Oh, and they will.

        Only the sex angle is why we are reading about it now.

    5. Sorry to say (I think I recognized the sarcasm), kinda sorta true. A Republican would have a reasonably high expectation of getting caught on the coverup. That expectation disincentivizes it. On the other hand, a Democrat has a justifiably high expectation that a coverup will get whitewashed and will be more likely to engage in it.

      1. And that’s why every anti-gay spouting republican totally avoids gay hook-ups, because they have reasonably high expectation of getting caught. Wait, what?

        1. But you prove his point. Republican’s who get caught in that kind of scandal tend to get sent home in disgrace.

          Democrat’s that get caught in that kind of scandal tend to get re-elected.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barney_Frank#Scandal

          “In 1985 Frank was still closeted. That year he hired Steve Gobie, a male prostitute, for sex, and they became “more friends than sexual partners.” Frank housed Gobie and hired him with personal funds as an aide, housekeeper and driver and paid for his attorney and court-ordered psychiatrist.”

  7. … what larger stories has the White House supressed or covered up that we don’t know about?

    Erm … all of them?

    1. Exactly. Of all the Obama scandals, or even -scare quote- “scandals” for which ones have we been given an open, honest, and complete accounting of the facts?

      Not one. The modus of the ‘most transparent’ administration in history has been to deny, deflect, obfuscate, stall, ignore, and destroy evidence to the fullest extent possible.

      But who is kidding who here? One of the very reasons we are talking about an Obama administration is thanks to the geniuses like Peter ‘liberaltarian’ Suderman.

      1. https://reason.com/archives/201…..singlepage

        Suderman didn’t vote for Obama, nor did he tell anyone that they should.

  8. 25 yr old appreciates Colombian hookers.

    Is given post with ‘Office of Global Womens Issues’

    Democrats insist they are like, feminist and shit

    gotta love it

    1. oh,and ‘son of Wal Mart Lobbiest’

      because dems love them that Wal Mart money

      jesus, this story has everything except Susan Rice claiming it was a spontaneous protest

    2. You know this has awesomely funny SNL sketch written all over it. Oh wait, I forgot it involves Democrats and it’s right before an election. Ok, never mind.

  9. Another Faux News Scandal. UnFair and Unbalanced.

    1. On the Road to Manyboyluv is correct.

      1. this story smells like koch

        dirty koch

        1. this story smells like koch

          dirty koch

          Which is just how “On the Road to Manboyluv” likes it!

          1. Uncut Koch.

  10. FYTW is the answer to every story it seems

  11. Bill Clinton says, “It’s all about sex”.

    Surely, women must throw themselves at Obama more than they did Clinton!

    At some point, we’re gonna find out either that 1) Obama is gay, 2) he screwed a train of chicks in the Lincoln bedroom like he was JFK, or 3) he’s a wuss and Michelle keeps his balls in her purse.

    The third option should be the most embarrassing.

    1. I really hope its the second one. I can’t even explain why I wish that.

      1. The last six years of his life were the most…marketable years of his life–and all he gets to do is curl up with Michelle?

        …and that woman’s a pain in the ass! Not content to merely nag him, she’s gotta nag the rest of us every chance she gets–and fat kids, too?

        The only way he stays with her after he’s out of office is if she wants to run for office herself someday, and even then, he’s gonna demand a really long leash.

        1. I think your projecting the Clinton’s onto the Obama’s there.

    2. My female intuition says it’s the third. Their marriage was shaky before he won his first election and he knows she can be dangerous when provoked.

    3. I have an alternative health practice. I read facial lines and palm lines, but not about fortune-telling, but about health.

      There are gay lines. Lines on a person’s face that indicates he is very likely gay. I can’t say with 100% certainty as to do that I need to see the person’s face up close in real life. But, it appears Obama has gay facial lines.

      I think the de facto argument is how come there aren’t 100s of young women stepping forward and saying “Yeah, I hit that in college”. A young upwardly mobile black man, with a great future, and NO ONE has come forward and said she dated him/slept with him/is his baby Momma etc.? No one. Come on. How can he not be gay?

      1. If I may speak for my fellow gay men,

        WTF!!!!

        “The are gay lines” ???

        There are gay lines at a Pride Parade

        There are gay lines to the mens room at disco

        There may or may not be gay lines to a Lady Gaga concert.

        There are really not “gay lines” on your face. Unless this is from some repetitive muscle injury from performing an iordinate amount of fellatio.

        And no one sucks that much cock….

        1. Sometimes you just have to roll with the crazy theories. Enjoy them. Its like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy.

      2. “The white girlfriends Obama erased from his past: How the President airbrushed his romantic history to burnish his credentials as a black leader” mentions a couple of “well-heeled, well-educated white girlfriends” who have been left out of Obama’s memoirs to increase his black cred.

  12. “The details are complex, and the actual ‘misconduct’?hiring a prostitute in Colombia, where it’s legal to do so?is perhaps politically embarrassing but hardly misconduct at all”

    Oh, but you’re wrong. By federal law aimed to curb trafficking in persons, government employees and contractors are prohibited from engaging prostitutes in sex-for-pay. As a long-time Navy man who did TIP training annually for the past ten years or so I know this is what we tell our sailors. I have no reason to believe these same restrictions don’t apply to the Secret Service.

    In short, this wasn’t just “misconduct” but criminal activity.

    1. ” I have no reason to believe these same restrictions don’t apply to the Secret Service.”

      The Navy and the Secret Service are just the hired help. Surely you don’t expect these kind of rules to apply to the Top Men? Or even their coddled children.

  13. So if this comes out at the time it would have affected, what, 25 votes? But the cover-up may now affect many more in 2014.
    Why don’t people learn the lessons of covering up criminal or embarrassing activities by underlings? For example, had Penn State
    cut all ties with Sandusky and reported the allegations to authorities, their reputation would have been welcomed and enhanced, not trashed as later happened.

    1. Why don’t people learn the lessons of covering up criminal or embarrassing activities by underlings?

      Because, if you believe you won’t get caught, it still makes sense to cover up. With the Sandusky case, Penn State’s reputation wouldn’t have been enhanced. It still would be associated with a child molester. To the extent they didn’t get caught, which they didn’t for a long time, they avoided a smaller loss.

  14. Cartegena, Columbia

    Colombia, perhaps?

  15. This administration actually achieves the old joke that you can tell they’re lying because their lips are moving. And they do it about much more consequential things than this–Obamacare, foreign policy, energy policy, racial politics, immigration, EVERYTHING.

    Nixon was a rank amateur compared to these guys.

  16. The Obama apologists visiting here = correct that this scandal is a minor speedbump that will be soon forgotten. The O-pologists are correct that deceitful Republicans have done and will do similar. Typical Washington antics?

    What’s significant about this story is that the young segment of WaPost newsroom is pissed off at the Obama junta. The reporters are mad because dem shills lied to them. WaPo reporters are told to expect lies from GOP shills but the reporters think the dem shills are friends. After Bezos bought the paper, he seems to have eliminated the unwritten rule “thou shall not bash fellow democrats.” In the last year or two, the WaPo has become relevant again. See Snowden. Now, their reporters look willing to investigate & go after both sides. This hurts dems, who have come to rely on an uncritical Washington Post as a prestigious & zealous defender. That time may be ending, although some liberal staffers may never abandon the faith. In 2009 this would not have been reported. Even in 2011, the WaPost would have spiked it.

    1. Good point. I missed that.

    2. Hmm, that hadn’t occurred to me. But I did notice and have been surprised by actual investigative stories of Democrats in the couple of years.

      ” In 2009 this would not have been reported. Even in 2011, the WaPost would have spiked it.”

      Well technically it wasn’t reported, and in 2012. Indeed, if this was about a Republican administration, you’d expect to hear this cited as “proof” that Republican’s stole the election for at least the next decade.

  17. That’s it, I’m not voting for Obama anymore.

    1. Not even Michelle?

  18. I am shocked, shocked, to see that there is a cover-up in the WH.

  19. “And the question the story raises is: If the White House was so determined to cover up this embarassing but relatively minor incident, what larger stories has the White House suppressed or covered up that we don’t know about?”

    This doesn’t quite survive Occam’s Razor. A simpler explanation is that any scandal before the election (we have several examples to choose from) was going to be covered up. But you can’t conclude that there’s a bigger scandal being covered up simply because a small one was. All you can conclude is that all scandals near the election were covered up–the size is a free variable.

    As it turns out, there was a bigger scandal–Benghazi–and it was indeed covered up. But hinting that there’s something dark and undiscovered doesn’t follow.

  20. In the Democratic party you pretty much have to kill a woman before you’re called on it. Oh wait…no, it has to be more than that.

    1. Senator Kennedy was eventually retired from office you know. Well at least after he died of old age anyway. 😉

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