The uproar over the recent dust-up in Cartagena, Colombia, has already cost a couple of secret service administrators their jobs, and the investigations continue. Media reports paint a picture of a wild night of heavy drinking and prostitution – one that potentially put the president at risk. That’s one side of the story.
Unmentioned have been the almost heroic efforts of federal agencies to rein in expenses and cut costs. In fact, the entire matter would never have seen the light of day, had not one overly zealous agent balked at the excessive price his companion demanded for her services the next morning. When it came time for her to leave (hotel rules stipulate that prostitutes must vacate before 7 a.m.), the woman asked for $1.4 million pesos. That’s a lot of money ($800 at the current exchange rate), and far more than new agency guidelines permit.
The agent countered with $30, which makes you wonder when he last used an escort service at public expense.
What spilled out into the corridor of the fancy resort hotel was a brouhaha that resembled a Keystone Kops routine. As the two principals continued to argue over the price, they were joined by another prostitute. Soon Colombian police officers showed up to back the woman’s claims (even they pay more than $30), as US federal agents tried in vain to hush everyone up.
The rest, as they say, has gone viral.
It makes me nostalgic for the days of Eliot Spitzer.