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Senators urge Secret Service to consider possibility of other scandals

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WASHINGTON D.C. — There are growing calls tonight from members of congress to look beyond just the 12 Secret Service employees so far under investigation in the Colombian prostitute scandal.

Secret service agent Paula Reid was one of four to flank President George W. Bush's limo on his 2001 inaugural day. Colleagues say she was the "cream of the crop" and now the 21-year-veteran has become one of the agency's highest- ranking African Americans.

Reid, who supervises the South American region, spearheaded the agency's initial response to the prostitution scandal on the ground in Cartagena, rounding up 11 agents and officers allegedly involved and sounding the alarm to Washington just hours before President Barack Obama's arrival.

Today the agency said that "she responded swiftly and took control of the situation and initiated the investigation."

"She acted decisively, appropriately, and I can't help but wonder if there'd been more women as part of that detail if this ever would have happened," said Maine Sen. Susan Collins.

The scandal dominated Sunday's talk shows, with Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman echoing calls for a White House inquiry.

"The White House ought to be conducting its own internal investigation of White House personnel who were in Cartagena, just to make sure that none of them were involved," Lieberman said.

"I've seen, from the moment this scandal broke until now there's no attempt to cover anything over," said New York Rep. Peter King. "Every possible lead is being examined."

King said the Secret Service would likely oust more personnel this week and sent a letter to the agency's director requesting answers to 50 questions.

They included questions like, "Were any members of the executive office of the president involved in the alleged incident?" and "How many incidents pertaining to the solicitation of Secret Service employees domestically or internationally... Have been referred to the agency over the last five years?"

Other lawmakers voiced concern this may not be the first time.

"Obviously nobody believes that something with 11 or 12 people involved couldn't have happened before," said California Rep. Darrell Issa.

Senior administration officials and the Secret Service insist there is no evidence implicating White House staff, and the president's advisers said President Obama continues to stand behind the agency's director.

"The president has confidence in Director Sullivan and the agency," said Obama campaign adviser, David Axelrod.

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Kristen Welker, NBC News


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