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It’s time to halve the motorcade, halve the security detail, halve the hookers.

President Barack Obama at the Americas Summit in Cartagena, Colombia

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Mark Steyn

Unlike the government of the United States, I can’t claim any hands-on experience with Colombian hookers. But I was impressed by the rates charged by Miss Dania Suarez, and even more impressed by the U.S. Secret Service’s response to them.

Cartagena’s most famous “escort” costs $800. For purposes of comparison, you can book Eliot Spitzer’s “escort” for $300. Yet, on the cold grey fiscally conservative morning after the wild socially liberal night before, Dania’s Secret Service agent offered her a mere $28.

Twenty-eight bucks! What a remarkably precise sum. Thirty dollars less a federal handling fee? Why isn’t this guy Obama’s treasury secretary or budget director? Or, at the very least, the head honcho of the General Services Administration, whose previous director has sadly had to step down after the agency’s taxpayer-funded public-servants-gone-wild Bacchanal in Vegas.

All over this dying republic, you couldn’t find a single solitary $28 item that doesn’t wind up costing at least 800 bucks by the time it’s been sluiced through the federal budgeting process. Yet, in one plucky little corner of the Secret Service, supervisor David Chaney, dog-handler Greg Stokes, or one of the other nine agents managed to turn the principles of government procurement on their head. If the same fiscal prudence were applied to the 2011 Obama budget, the $3.598 trillion splurge would have cost just shy of $126 billion. The feds’ half a billion to Solyndra would have been a mere $18 million. The 823-grand GSA conference on government efficiency at the M Resort Spa & Casino would have come in at $28,805.

Chaney-Stokes 2012! Grope . . . and Change! Red lights, not red ink.

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Alas, young Miss Suarez, just 24 and with a nine-year-old son and a ravenous pimp to feed, didn’t care for the cut of her Secret Service man’s jib. He made the fairly basic mistake — for an expensively trained government operative — of attempting to pay a prostitute in the hotel corridor, and Dania caused an altercation whose fallout has brought the Secret Service to its knees. Which isn’t how these encounters usually go.

What we know so far is this: All eleven Secret Service men and all ten U.S. military personnel staying at the Hotel Caribe are alleged to have had “escorts” in their rooms that night. All of them. The entire team.

Twenty-one U.S. public servants. Twenty-one Colombian whores. Unless a couple of the senior guys splashed out for the two-girl special. “Some of them were saying they didn’t know they were prostitutes,” explained Congressman Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

“Some are saying they were women at the bar.”

Amazing to hear government agents channeling Dudley Moore in Arthur: “You’re a hooker? I thought I was doing so well.” It turns out U.S. Secret Service agents are the only men who can walk into a Colombian nightclub and not spot the professionals. Are they really the guys you want protecting the president?

Congress is not happy about this. “It was totally wrong to take a foreign national back to a hotel when the president is about to arrive,” said Representative King.

It’s wrong to take a “foreign national” up to the room, but it would have been okay if she’d been from Des Moines? We’re all in favor of outsourcing, but in compliance with Section 27(e)viii of the PATRIOT Act this is the one job Americans will do?

With respect to the congressman, sometimes it helps to step back and consider the bigger picture. Why were 21 officials of the United States government able to enjoy a night of pleasure with 21 prostitutes, whether “foreign nationals” or all-American? The answer isn’t difficult. Indeed, one retired agent spelled it out: “They just didn’t have anything to do.”

So they did Dania Suarez and her friends instead.

The 21 dedicated public servants jetted in on the so-called car-planes, the big transports flying in the tinted-windowed black Suburbans for the presidential motorcade. The “car-plane” guys show up a few days in advance, but usually two weeks or so after the really advanced advance team has hit the ground. And there was nothing for them to do. There is no reason for them to be there.

So instead they went to the Pleyclub.

As I understand it, the 21 public servants did not technically bill U.S. taxpayers for their “escorts.” But you suckers paid for them to fly to Cartagena, and they were enjoying those women on your time. On foreign trips, aside from the 40 or so armored limousines, there are usually 200 Secret Service agents plus a couple of dozen sniffer dogs. Did the latter take any Colombian bitches back to their kennels? Or are they just the entrée for Obama’s embassy banquet?



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