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Agents forced out over sex scandal

The US Secret Service has swiftly forced out three agents in a prostitution scandal in Colombia which has embarrassed President Barack Obama's administration.

A senior congressman welcomed the departures but warned: "It's not over."

The agency announced that three agents are leaving the service, even as separate government investigations were under way. The Secret Service did not identify the three agents or eight others it said remained on administrative leave.

In a statement, it said one supervisor was allowed to retire and another will be fired for cause. A third employee, who was not a supervisor, has resigned.

The prostitution scandal also involved about 10 military service members and as many as 20 women. All the Secret Service employees who were involved had their security clearances revoked.

"These are the first steps," said Pete King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, which oversees the Secret Service. Mr King said the agency's director, Mark Sullivan, took action against "the three people he believes the case was clearest against". But Mr King said: "It's certainly not over."

The scandal erupted last week after 11 Secret Service agents were sent home from the city of Cartagena after a night of partying that reportedly ended with at least some of them bringing prostitutes back to their hotel.

The special agents and uniformed officers were in Colombia in advance of Mr Obama's arrival for the Summit of the Americas.

A White House official said that Mr Obama had not spoken directly to Mr Sullivan since the incident.

Mr Obama's senior aides are in close contact with Mr Sullivan and the agency's leadership, said the official.

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