Secret Service agents relieved of duty over misconduct allegations

President Barack Obama waves upon arrival to Cartagena, Colombia, April 13, 2012. Obama is in Cartagena to attend the sixth Summit of the Americas. At right is U.S. ambassador to Colombia Michael McKinley.
AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa

(CBS/AP) - Secret Service agents that were sent to Colombia to provide security for President Barack Obama at an international summit have been relieved of duty because of allegations of misconduct, an agency spokesman told CBS News.

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan provided this e-mail statement to CBS News late Friday night: "There have been allegations of misconduct made against Secret Service personnel in Cartagena, Colombia prior to the President's trip. Because of this, those personnel are being relieved of their assignments, returned to their place of duty, and are being replaced by other Secret Service personnel. The Secret Service takes all allegations of misconduct seriously. This entire matter has been turned over to our Office of Professional Responsibility, which serves as the agency's internal affairs component."

A U.S. official, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter and requested anonymity, told the Associated Press the number of agents was 12. The agency was not releasing the number of personnel involved.

The incident threatened to overshadow Obama's economic and trade agenda at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, and embarrass the U.S. The White House had no comment.

Obama was attending a leaders' dinner Friday night at Cartagena's historic Spanish fortress. He was due to attend summit meetings with regional leaders Saturday and Sunday.

"These personnel changes will not affect the comprehensive security plan that has been prepared in advance of the president's trip," Donovan said.