Former director says scandal an aberration

April 22, 2012 at 1:36 PM

WASHINGTON, April 22 (UPI) -- Former U.S. Secret Service Director Ralph Basham said Sunday the organization's prostitution scandal in Colombia is an "aberration."

Basham said in an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation" he never had this kind of a problem during his 31 years in the Secret Service.

"I will tell you, absolutely, that this is an aberration, this is not the character of the men and women who serve every day in the Secret Service," he said. "I don't believe in the past these types of things have happened, they certainly didn't happen on my watch, and I spent over three decades in this organization. And I can tell you this is not what that organization is like."

Basham admitted there were times during his tenure as director when agents and officers "got themselves into inappropriate situations," but it was never to the same magnitude of the April 11 incident in Colombia.

"I can't recall one instance where the action went to the point of removing an agent from duty. There were agents who were disciplined ... given time off, that sort of thing. But I can't recall one actually being removed," he said.

The scandal shouldn't hurt the credibility of the Secret Service because, Basham said, the incident was uncharacteristic of the organization.

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