Four U.S. military service members assigned to the White House were removed from their positions this week after violating curfew while in Panama.
The three Army noncommissioned officers and one Air Force NCO were assigned to the White House Communications Agency (WHCA) and were in in Panama in advance of Vice President Mike Pence’s visit on August 17. White House Military Office (WHMO) chief of staff Karen Bazel said in an email to the Washington Beacon earlier this week that the service members “are under investigation for confirmed violations of curfew requirements while deployed to Panama” while working on the advance team for the Vice President’s visit.
“All four members were removed from Panama before the vice president arrived and have subsequently been removed from White House Communications Agency duty,” Brazell told the publication. She added no evidence of soliciting prostitution exists with any of the removed service members.
However, sources close to the investigation, speaking to USAWTFM under condition of anonymity, said that the service members picked up the girls from Habanos, a known hang out spot in Panama’s banking district that for the past seven years has been raided several times by local authorities in connection to prostitution.
The four service members, two Army SFCs, one Army MSG and one Air Force MSgt, were caught bringing several women back in their hotel rooms on security camera footage by overseeing Secret Service agents.
The hotel prior and during the vice president’s visit is considered to be a secure area and every visitor not belonging to the official party or preapproved support personnel must be registered with Secret Service both for security and counterintelligence reasons. Sources also added that several of the service members under investigation were also caught on closed circuit television cameras withdrawing money from the hotel’s ATM an hour after they brought the girls to their rooms.
Upon discovery, all four were flown back to the United States prior to the vice president’s arrival, were removed from their assignments at WHCA, and reassigned back to the Army, according to Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Paul Haverstick.
Editor’s note: The article has been edited to remove a paragraph mentioning that the departure of the WHMO director Dabney Kern may have been related to the incident. Mr. Kern contacted us after we published the article and stated that the move was preplanned and while it coincided with the incident it was in no way connected.