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


jerusalem — A member of the US intelligence community was sent back to the United States from Israel on Monday after he was allegedly involved in a “physical encounter” in Jerusalem and briefly detained by Israeli police, the agency said.

A spokesman for the intelligence agency said in a statement to CBS News on Wednesday that the agency was notified of the encounter late Monday and the agent, who was working in Israel, was “briefly detained and interrogated by Israeli police, who released him without charge.” . “

Four people who were told about the altercation had more details about the agent’s night.

A male Secret Service agent was with other agents at a Jerusalem bar Monday night. A woman at the bar interacted with the agent and an argument ensued. During the altercation, the agent pushed the woman, according to the three sources.

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

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

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

This Counter Assault Team is typically deployed before high-profile presidential trips.

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

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

The incident occurred 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.

When asked for more specific details about the agent who pushed the woman in Jerusalem, Intelligence spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told CBS News the department was unable to comment or confirm specifics “since our investigation is ongoing.” only begin”.

“We hold all employees to the highest professional standards and you’re seeing the results of our strong culture of accountability,” Guglielmi said, adding that all agents are required to undergo “annual integrity training” and previously have “professional standards” and Behavior to be informed Departure to any assignments abroad.

Nor is it the first time a Secret Service agent has been sent back to the United States ahead of a presidential trip abroad. In May, two Secret Service employees from Seoul, South Korea, were sent home and placed on administrative leave after an off-duty incident occurred in which one of the members got into a physical “argument” with a local taxi driver.

Local police investigated the incident and no one was 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 tour of Asia.

Arden Farhi contributed to the coverage.

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