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Mark Steyn

Steyn on Culture

The Return of the Cartagena Hooker

On stage in Minneapolis on Thursday night, I mentioned en passant one of those stories that came up while I was overseas and that I'm playing catch-up on: the news that, in the 2012 Secret Service hooker scandal, a young White House aide was also involved and that the corrupt Obama Administration covered it up. Surprise! The Obama Administration operates on the sound principle that, if you're going to have a scandal, it's best to have dozens of them and then no one can keep up, and none of them becomes large enough to matter.

In this case, Jonathan Dach is the son of an influential Obama donor and Walmart lobbyist with ties to the First Lady's "healthy eating initiative". Two years ago, Dach Jnr was part of the White House advance team dispatched to Cartagena ahead of the President's visit. The evidence from the hotel register conclusively proves that he had a prostitute in his room. But the White House hushed it up, on the grounds that he did not actually bill US taxpayers for his hooker. How did that happen? Well:

Dach "was not charged for additional guest as a benefit of Hilton Honor Member."

So under the Hilton Honors program the first hooker stays for free. Who knew? Did young Jonathan Dach only have all those points on his Hilton card because he was doing so much presidential travel? In which case, his complimentary hooker was in a sense a perk of office.

Anyway, when he paid off the prostitute and came back from Colombia, Jonathan Dach was given a job at the White House "working on Global Women's Issues". In Cartagena, he was working on Global Women. Now he's working on Global Women's Issues. Ah, well. There's no real need for US officials to travel to Latin America, is there? We're trending quite Latin-American enough in Washington: The Democrats and media have trained the public to accept a certain level of government corruption as perfectly routine, no matter how absurd and obvious it is.

I think it's worth keeping an eye on the big picture here. First, as I wrote two-and-a-half years ago, there was no reason for Mr Dach or any of the other at least two dozen federal johns to be in Cartagena at all: They were cavorting with prostitutes all night long because there was nothing for them to do:

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...

Why were 21 officials of the United States government able to enjoy a night of pleasure with 21 prostitutes..? 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.

And now we know that the presidential-entourage hooker culture isn't confined to the agents but extends to the dweeby wonk aides as well.

So the obvious solution would be to lower the number of presidential flunkeys. Which is a standing joke at global summits - that the US President has to be accompanied by more hangers-on than all the other presidents and prime ministers put together. They're not there to do their duty, they're there to do the local booty.

In 2012, when I wrote about this incident, I quoted Congressman Peter King:

It was totally wrong to take a foreign national back to a hotel when the president is about to arrive.

And, after spraying coffee all over my desk, I commented:

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?

The problem isn't that they're foreign nationals, it's that they're prostitutes. Nevertheless, a new regulation was subsequently introduced forbidding Secret Service agents to have foreigners in their hotel rooms. So at, say, last year's G7 summit in Northern Ireland, it would have been a firing offense for the Presidential advance team to invite the local MI5 guys to their suite to liaise on security, but if they'd flown in a dominatrix from Tuscaloosa, no problem.

As I said, I wrote about all this two years ago. Since then, we've had the Mandela funeral fiasco, where America's money-no-object security entourage stuck the President on stage two feet from an "interpreter" who turned out to be a violent, convicted criminal who'd been part of a "necklacing" gang. In the last few weeks, we've had a knife-toting intruder jump the White House fence, a gun-toting felon in the elevator with the President... There have been apparently more than a thousand security breaches in the last five years. And all for the perfectly obvious reason that, when it comes to security, more equals worse.

The federal motorcade hooker-culture is a symbol of government decadence, and a potentially catastrophic loss of government integrity.The Queen is safer with one car in front and one behind than the President is with a 40-car motorcade of expense-finaglers wondering if their Hilton Honors card will cover the two-girl special.

~You can read my 2012 column on the scandal in full here. The Cartagena hookers didn't make The [Un]documented Mark Steyn, but there is some presidential groping in there, courtesy of Bill Clinton. It hits bookstores in a little over a week, but you can pre-order now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Indigo-Chapters in Canada, and other fine retailers.

from Steyn on Culture, October 11, 2014

 

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