Secret Service agent sent back to US from Israel after alleged ‘physical encounter’

Secret Service agent sent back to US from Israel after alleged 'physical encounter'
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Jerusalem – A member of the US Secret Service was sent back to the United States from Israel on Monday after he was allegedly involved in a “physical encounter” in Jerusalem and was briefly detained by Israeli police, the agency said.

A Secret Service spokesman said Wednesday in a statement to CBS News that the agency was made aware of the encounter Monday night and that the agent, who was working in Israel, was “briefly detained and questioned by Israeli police, who released him.” no fees”. “

Four people who were told about the altercation had more details about the officer’s night.

An off-duty Secret Service agent was with other agents Monday night in a Jerusalem bar. A woman at the bar interacted with the agent and an argument ensued. During the altercation, the officer pushed the woman, according to the three sources.

The woman involved was not injured, the sources said, but called the Israeli police to report the officer.

Israeli police detained the agent and notified the US Embassy in Israel, which contacted the US Secret Service headquarters, according to the three sources.

The agent involved was a member of the Counter Strike Team, a Secret Service heavy weapons tactical unit that assists the Presidential Protection Division, according to a source familiar with the matter.

This counterattack team is usually deployed before high-profile presidential trips.

“The employee has returned to the United States,” the Secret Service also said. “In accordance with agency protocol, his access to Secret Service systems and facilities has been suspended pending further investigation.”

Two people briefed on the incident said alcohol was involved. Another person familiar with the internal investigation told CBS News that the Secret Service is investigating whether the agent was intoxicated. This source also said the agent was expected to explain what happened to the Secret Service on Wednesday.

The incident occurred as President Biden was scheduled to arrive in Tel Aviv as part of a four-day trip to the Middle East, his first visit to the region as president. In addition to a stop in Israel, Mr. Biden will also visit the West Bank and Saudi Arabia.

When asked about the more specific details of the agent who pushed the woman in Jerusalem, Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told CBS News that the department could not comment on or confirm any details, “since our investigation is just beginning.” “.

“We hold all employees to the highest professional standards and they are seeing the results of our strong culture of responsibility,” Guglielmi said, adding that all agents are required to undergo “annual integrity training” and have briefings on ” professional standards” and conduct before leaving on any mission abroad.

It’s also not the first time a Secret Service agent has been sent back to the United States ahead of a presidential trip abroad. In May, two Secret Service employees were sent home from Seoul, South Korea, and placed on administrative leave following an off-duty incident in which one of the members got into a physical “altercation” with a local taxi driver.

Local police investigated the incident and no one was arrested or charged. The Secret Service members left for the United States less than an hour and a half before Mr. Biden was scheduled to arrive in South Korea as part of a five-day tour of Asia.

Arden Farhi contributed to this report.

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