Stay with me here, there may be more to this one than just naughty fun.
The Secret Service and its Prostitutes
In 2012, prior to the arrival of President Obama for an official visit to Colombia, 13 Secret Service agents had “personal encounters with female Colombian nationals” at their hotel. Prostitution is legal in Columbia, and mostly for their own safety working women register their presence with the hotel’s front desk. The actions of the Secret Service came to light only because one of the agents failed to pay his companion, and things turned ugly. The woman reported that she had agreed on a price the night before. However, when she asked for the money the next morning, the agent told her “Let’s go, b*tch, I’m not going to pay you.” He then pushed her out of his room and into the hallway.
White House Staffer Involved?
There may have been another person using a prostitute that night in Colombia. The investigator who led the Department of Homeland Security’s internal review of the Secret Service’s 2012 prostitution scandal, David Nieland, claimed hotel records showed a member of the White House advance team signed a prostitute into his room the same night. The White House denied one of its people was involved and a formal report of the scandal by Nieland did not mention the White House staffer.
The staffer alleged to have been involved is now a policy adviser at the State Department. His father also works in the Obama administration.
After the report became public, Nieland said he was asked to delete information about the White House staffer because it was potentially damaging to the administration during an election year. A Senate report challenged that, and said the changes were part of the editing process. The White House also denied that it had intervened in the report.
The whole thing was dropped, until now.
Nieland and His Crimes
Things started to turn weird when in 2013, according to Homeland Security officials, Nieland accused the inspector general’s office of retaliating against him when it suspended him for two weeks without pay after he circulated photographs that he had taken of a female intern’s feet. Nieland said he had circulated the images as a joke. The whole thing was dropped. Until…
Sheriff’s deputies in Broward County, Florida happened to have a no-tell motel under surveillance as part of a prostitution investigation. They noticed a man who turned out to be David Nieland entering and leaving the building. When the cops stopped Nieland, he told them he was part of an undercover human trafficking operation run by the Department of Homeland Security. The cops checked with Homeland Security, who said they were not running any such operation. The Florida cops then checked with the prostitute Nieland had visited, and she confirmed he paid her for sex.
Back at work, Nieland for his part told his own inspector general’s office that he was stopped by police in Florida because of a broken tail light. Homeland Security called the Florida cops to learn that was a lie, Nieland refused to answer any questions, and then resigned, citing health problems. He denies the allegations.
The Coincidence Factor
Assuming the allegations against Nieland are true, he may be a guy with some issues. Circulating photos of an intern’s feet is way outside the boundaries, and the story that the guy investigating a prostitution scandal is himself caught up in a prostitution scandal makes for juicy headlines.
But it is worth considering the coincidence factor. It may be the cops in Florida stumbled into a headline-grabbing bust just by staking out the right motel or they had some idea which motel to stake out. Nieland did everything he could to make it all worse, lying to cover a lie, but still, the coincidence of calling out the White House and challenging a Senate report’s conclusion followed by a career-ending bust, well, anyway, something to think about, right? Probably all just a coincidence.