Former agent and current Maryland Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Dan Bongino spoke out Monday about his former colleagues at the currently scandal-plagued U.S. Secret Service. The agency is facing scrutiny over allegations that agents brought prostitutes back to their Colombia hotel during the president's visit to the country last week.
The Secret Service announced later Monday that it had pulled the top security clearance of 11 agents and uniformed division personnel over the incident.
Bongino said Monday on NBC's "Nightly News With Brian Williams" that the scandal "was devastating to me along with the fraternity of Secret Service brothers out there."
Bongino went on to call the incident "a national embarrassment."
But the GOP senate candidate concluded on a more sympathetic note. "I know everyone in the case," he said. "I'm not apologizing for anybody's behavior ... But lives are changed permanently. The ones I've talked to -- their families are just beaten up by this."
Bongino did not mention one family affected by the scandal -- his own. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Bongino confirmed that his brother, Joe Bongino, was on the Secret Service detail that traveled to Colombia.
"He was on the team that made some bad decisions, but multiple witnesses have said he was not a part of the prostitution," Bongino said, "He is not part of the prostitution investigation."
Bongino said that his brother has given statements as part of the investigation.
When HuffPost asked why Bongino hadn't mentioned his brother was there, Bongino said, "It's not my place." Besides, he said -- nobody asked.
"If someone asked, I certainly would’ve said it," Bongino said. "It’s not my place to give up those names."
Bongino added: "I’m not the first candidate to have a family member in a bad scrape." His brother did not respond a request for comment.
At the conclusion of Obama's Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, the president was asked about the scandal. “What happened here in Colombia is being investigated by the director of the Secret Service,” Obama told reporters at a press conference. “I expect that investigation to be thorough and to be rigorous. If it turns out that some of the allegations made in the press are confirmed, then of course I’ll be angry.”
On "Nightly News," Bongino ended his comments by saying, "I really hope America at some point can forgive the agency for this and we can get past this.
"Again, this is devastating for me professionally and personally."
You can watch the full segment here:
Also on HuffPost:
How will Donald Trump’s first 100 days impact YOU? Subscribe, choose the community that you most identify with or want to learn more about and we’ll send you the news that matters most once a week throughout Trump’s first 100 days in office. Learn more