WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- The White House's reaction was essentially "Nothing to see here!" to a report that it covered up evidence a prostitute stayed with a member of the president's advance team in Colombia in 2012.
Late Wednesday, the Washington Post published a report citing insiders who claimed they were instructed to delay reporting the incident until after the 2012 election.
David Neiland, lead investigator into the Cartagena case for the Department of Homeland Security inspector general's office, reportedly told Senate staffers he was pressured by his superiors to do so.
"We were directed at the time... to delay the report of the investigation until after the 2012 election," the Post's source claimed Nieland said. They were also told "to withhold and alter certain information in the report of investigation because it was potentially embarrassing to the administration."
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, a member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, also sent a letter to White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough last week, saying he had been contacted by "credible sources" with information about the April 2012 incident.
"Recently, I have received information from credible sources that records also identified a White House staff person as checking in a female foreign national (FFN) as an overnight guest during the same trip and that steps were taken by the administration to cover-up or deflect their involvement in the initial incident."
On Thursday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest dismissed the Post's implication, citing numerous reports from 2012 that would indicate the allegations had been aired out and without merit.
"Supposed WaPo 'exclusive' was previously reported by AP, CBS, ABC, Politico, The Hill & others -- 2 years ago," he tweeted.
At the time, the White House denied any of its staff had been involved in inappropriate behavior, and the Senate report had not been able to verify Nieland's allegations.
"There have been no specific, credible allegations of misconduct by anyone on the White House advance team or the White House staff," then-press secretary Jay Carney said at the time.
"As was reported more than two years ago, the White House conducted an internal review that did not identify any inappropriate behavior on the part of the White House advance team," White House spokesman Eric Schultz reiterated this week.
The White House person in question, Jonathan Dach, has categorically denied hiring a prostitute or bringing anyone to his hotel room. Dach was a volunteer at the time, but both he and his father, a prominent Democratic donor, joined the Obama administration officially this year.
According to the Post report, Dach says he returned to his hotel at 10:48 p.m. on April 3, but reporters reviewed hotel logs that show a woman registered to Dach's room at 12:02 a.m. on April 4.
Chaffetz, who has taken a leading role in investigating the recent problems within the Secret Service that led to the resignation of Director Julia Pierson, questioned the validity of the White House's investigation.
"Did the White House conduct a thorough and exhaustive review? Which part of the White House review cleared the White House staffer referenced in the OIG report? It is unclear if the White House based [its] conclusion simply on finding 'no other corroborating materials' behind the hotel records, or if they interviewed USSS personnel who reported to the DHS OIG that a 'member of the White House staff and/or advance team had personal encounters with female Colombian nationals."
Nearly two dozen Secret Service agents and members of the military were ultimately fired. Prostitution is legal in parts of Colombia, including Cartagena.