Secret Service agent fired from Israel to US after alleged ‘physical encounter’

Jerusalem — A member of the US secret service was returned from Israel to the United States on Monday after being involved in a “physical encounter” in Jerusalem and briefly detained by Israeli police, the agency said.

A Secret Service spokesperson said in a statement to CBS News on Wednesday that the agency was made aware of the encounter Monday evening and that the agent, who worked in Israel, was “briefly detained and questioned by Israeli police , who released him without charge.”

Four people briefed on the altercation had more details about the officer’s night.

An off-duty male Secret Service agent was with other agents Monday night at a bar in Jerusalem. A woman at the bar interacted with the officer and an argument ensued. During the altercation, the officer shoved the woman, according to the three sources.

The woman involved was not injured, the sources said, but she called the Israel Police to report the officer.

Israeli police took the agent into custody and notified the US Embassy in Israel, which contacted US Secret Service headquarters, according to the three sources.

The subject agent was a member of the Counter Assault Team, a Secret Service heavy weapons tactical unit that assists the Presidential Protection Division, according to a source familiar with the matter.

This counter-assault team is usually deployed before high profile presidential trips.

“The employee has returned to the United States,” the Secret Service also said. “Per agency protocol, his access to Secret Service systems and facilities has been suspended pending further investigation.”

Two people briefed on the incident said alcohol was involved. Another person familiar with the internal investigation told CBS News that the Secret Service is investigating whether the agent was intoxicated. This source also said the agent was to explain what happened to the Secret Service as early as Wednesday.

The incident came as President Biden was due to arrive in Tel Aviv as part of a four-day trip to the Middle East, his first visit to the region as president. In addition to a stopover in Israel, Mr. Biden will also visit the West Bank and Saudi Arabia.

Asked about the finer details of the agent who pushed the woman into Jerusalem, Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told CBS News the department was unable to comment or confirm details. , “given that our investigation has only just begun”.

“We hold all employees to the highest professional standards and you see the results of our strong culture of accountability,” Guglielmi said, adding that all officers are required to complete “annual integrity training” and receive information on “professional standards” and driving before. go on a mission abroad.

It’s also not the first time a Secret Service agent has been sent back to the United States before a presidential trip abroad. In May, two Secret Service employees were sent home from Seoul, South Korea, and placed on administrative leave following a leave incident in which one of the members had a physical ‘altercation’ with a local taxi driver.

Local police investigated the incident and no one has been arrested or charged. The Secret Service members left for the United States less than an hour and a half before Mr Biden arrived in South Korea as part of a five-day trip through Asia.

Arden Farhi contributed reporting.

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