Jerusalem – The agency reported that a member of the American intelligence service was returned from Israel to the United States on Monday after he allegedly engaged in a “physical confrontation” in Jerusalem and was briefly detained by the Israeli police.
On Wednesday, a Secret Service spokesman said in a statement to CBS News that the agency was informed of the meeting late Monday, and that the agent who was working in Israel “was briefly arrested and questioned by the Israeli police, who released him without charge.”
Four people who were told about the altercation had more details about the client’s night.
A Secret Service agent was off duty with other agents on Monday night at a bar in Jerusalem. A woman in the bar interacted with the agent and an argument ensued. According to the three sources, the customer pushed the woman during the altercation.
The sources said that the woman involved was unharmed, but called the Israeli police to report the agent.
The Israeli police detained the agent and informed the US embassy in Israel, which contacted the US intelligence service headquarters, according to the three sources.
The agent involved was a member of the Counterattack Team, a Secret Service heavy weapons tactical unit that assists the Presidential Protection Division, according to a source familiar with the matter.
This counterattack team is usually deployed before high-profile presidential trips.
The Secret Service also said that “the employee has returned to the United States.” “In accordance with agency protocol, his access to Secret Service systems and facilities has been suspended pending further investigation.”
Two people who were informed of the incident said that alcohol was involved. Another person familiar with CBS’s internal investigation said the Secret Service is investigating whether the agent was drunk. This source also said that the agent is expected to explain what happened to the intelligence service on 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 stop in Israel, Biden will visit the West Bank and Saudi Arabia.
Asked about more specific details about the agent’s push by the woman in Jerusalem, Secret Service spokesman Anthony Gullelmi told CBS News that the department was unable to comment or confirm any details, “given that our investigation is just beginning.”
“We hold all employees to the highest professional standards and you see the results of our strong culture of accountability,” Gullelmi said, adding that all agents are required to undergo “annual integrity training” and receive briefings on “professional standards” and behavior beforehand. Departure on any foreign assignments.
Nor is it the first time that a Secret Service agent has been returned to the United States prior to a presidential trip abroad. In May, two Secret Service agents were sent home from Seoul, South Korea, and placed on administrative leave after an off-duty incident in which one of the members got into a physical “argument” with a local taxi driver.
The local police investigated the incident, and no one was arrested or charged. Members of the Secret Service left for the United States less than an hour and a half before Biden was due to arrive in South Korea as part of a five-day tour through Asia.
Jordan Farhi contributed to this report.
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