A recent article in the April 22 edition of the Washington Post reveals that the supervising agent who launched the initial investigation into the scandal which has cost a number of agents their jobs was Paula Reid, the new Secret Service boss for the South American region, who is African American.
Less than 24 hours before the President was to visit, according to the Post article., Agent Reid was in Cartagena preparing for the president’s visit when she received word that a prostitute, upset because she had not been paid ($47) by a Secret Service agent, had created a disturbance in a nearby hotel, knocking on doors and yelling in the hallways at daybreak.
That’s when Reid, a 46-year-old Calvert County Maryland native, instructed agents to go to the Hotel Caribe at midday April 12 and inspect hotel registration records for all
Secret Service employees. Reid swiftly rounded up 11 agents and officers and ordered them out of the country. She alerted her superiors that she found early evidence of “egregious” misconduct involving prostitutes and set in motion the public uncovering of the most wide-reaching scandal at the agency in decades, according to government officials involved in the case.
While details about the scandal and the men who took the prostitutes to their rooms are now well documented, less is known about the role played by one of the agency’s highest-ranking African Americans in the decision.
Officials familiar with the probe said Reid had Director Mark Sullivan’s endorsement as she took swift steps to handle the matter, and that he gave the final decision to remove the agents.
After growing up in Calvert County, Reid graduated from the University of Maryland. She joined the Secret Service at age 25 after visiting an NAACP job fair that sought to encourage minority applicants for law enforcement jobs. During her tenure, she has been used as a role model to recruit other women and minorities into the Secret service.
Reid has served as a deputy special agent in charge of the presidential protective division, overseeing the White House complex and access to it in the middle of Obama’s term. That included overseeing protection for the East Wing, coordinating events and regular contact with first lady Michelle Obama and her family.