WashPost Reporter Slams WH Claims Advance Team Staffer Had No Role in Prostitution Scandal

Appearing on Friday’s edition of MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown, the reporter with The Washington Post who broke the story that White House officials knew that advance team member Jonathan Dach had a prostitute stay in his hotel room during the 2012 Colombian prostitution scandal joined the program and took to blasting the White House’s numerous claims that no such cover-up exists.

Reporter Carol Leonnig spoke with MSNBC’s Craig Melvin and slammed the Obama administration right from the moment she began speaking for their “red herring” of “the mistaken identity” and that it was “demonstrably false” for them “to say that the only evidence, which is what the White House is saying, that the only evidence involving this guy was that a woman had signed herself into this room.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]

Leonnig stated that the White House “has said a lot of different things over the last two years” as to why no one there was involved in the scandal that enveloped the Secret Service and thoroughly dismantled that claim by detailing how she and her paper came about the records: 

We've looked and reviewed the investigators realtime notes on what they asked at this hotel, at the Hilton, and what they learned is that three people on the U.S. delegation appeared to have signed in themselves, registered a guest, a female foreign national, into their rooms, likely a prostitute, and the Hilton made clear to investigators that there was no way a woman could just write a number down for a room in the President's hotel, where there was a lot of high security, that there's no way a woman can do that. 

She went on to point out that those with the U.S. delegation at the hotel had to present their guests upon entry, have them sign in, present a valid form of ID, and have workers at the hotel desk make a copy of that before proceeding any further.

On the topic of another White House claim that a bipartisan Senate report had found no credible role on the part of Dach, Leonnig told Melvin again how: 

[W]hat the Senate report actually concluded was they didn't have any information into substantiate this, because the Inspector General, who was the person allegedly ordering the deletions of the White House staffer references from the report.....refused to turn over any of his internal correspondence[.]

Before the segment ended, Leonnig emphasized one final but significant fact that the Inspector General at the time of investigation “resigned three days before he was supposed to come before a hearing of lawmakers” and answer questions regarding his actions in the investigation. She noted that “in the times that he did give over his documentation, he did alter and stall reports that were sensitive about the administration at the request of administration political aides.”

While intrepid reporting has been done by The Washington Post thus far, the same cannot be said regarding any of the major broadcast networks. Since the Post’s story appeared in the Thursday edition of the newspaper, ABC and NBC have not run a single story on the allegations. The other major broadcast network, CBS, has only aired one story on the subject as Thursday’s CBS This Morning had a report from CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett.

The portions of the transcript that dealt with the 2012 Colombian prostitution scandal on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown on October 10 are transcribed below.

MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown
October 10, 2014
9:32 a.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Secret Service Scandal]

CRAIG MELVIN: Coming up next, though, here on The Daily Rundown, we're learning more about the two-year-old prostitution scandal that rocked the Secret Service and the panel that will be tasked to investigate the agency's recent security lapses. The woman who broke the whole saga wide open, The Washington Post's Carol Leonnig is going to help us break it all down, when The Daily Rundown comes back in three minutes.

(....)

9:35 a.m. Eastern
 
MELVIN: The independent panel tasked by the Homeland Security Department with reviewing how an intruder was able to force his way deep into the White House is expected to be named later today. That panel will also decide if a broader review of the Secret Service is needed. Yesterday, the White House stood by an internal review that cleared Johnny Dach, a then-25-year-old travel office volunteer who was paid per diem. They cleared him in involvement in the 2012 prostitution scandal in Cartagena, Colombia. Citing documents and interviews, The Washington Post reported on Thursday that the senior white house aides were given information at the time suggesting a prostitute was an overnight guest in Dach’s hotel room. The Post also reporting that White House officials were alerted, but that information was never thoroughly investigated or publicly acknowledged. Dach did not speak to the Post, but his attorney called the allegations, quote, “utterly and completely false.” White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters yesterday that White House lawyers looked at these allegations and found there was nothing to them. I want to bring in The Washington Post’s Carol Leonnig, who reported this story. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Secret Service Scandal; White House Responds]

Good to see you, as always. The White House says at least two people were wrongly implicated in Colombia based on an inaccurate hotel record, one of whom was a Secret Service personnel member, the other was a White House volunteer, and they concluded in their White House review the hotel record was erroneous, is that their story? 

CAROL LEONNIG: The White House has said a lot of different things over the last two years about why a White House staffer likely wasn't involved and why their review was very thorough and they found nothing to it. This issue of the mistaken identity is a red herring. You know, it's demonstrably false to say that the only evidence, which is what the White House is saying, that the only evidence involving this guy was that a woman had signed herself into this room. We've looked and reviewed the investigators realtime notes on what they asked at this hotel, at the Hilton, and what they learned is that three people on the U.S. delegation appeared to have signed in themselves, registered a guest, a female foreign national, into their rooms, likely a prostitute, and the Hilton made clear to investigators that there was no way a woman could just write a number down for a room in the President's hotel, where there was a lot of high security, that there's no way a woman can do that. The guest, who's the paying guest, the U.S. delegation member, has to present this woman at the desk, has to agree that she's coming with him into his room, she has to present her identification number and her actual ID, they photo copy the woman's ID, and for each of these three personnel, the Hilton said, that is what happened and we've looked at those notes, so –

MELVIN: Make of it what you will. Carol, you also reported that staffers in the Homeland Security Department Inspector General's office, raised questions about a White House role, said that they were put on administrative leave as punishment for doing so. What's the White House said about that? 

LEONNIG: The White House says that a Senate investigation, bipartisan Senate investigation, concluded that there was no credible evidence to back up this investigator's claims, but what the Senate report actually concluded was they didn't have any information into substantiate this, because the Inspector General, who was the person allegedly ordering the deletions of the White House staffer references from the report, that that acting Inspector General refused to turn over any of his internal correspondence, so the Senate investigation said, hey, “we looked at this, we couldn't figure out if the Inspector General was retaliating against people who questioned his deletions.” However, one important thing, Craig, this Inspector General resigned three days before he was supposed to come before a hearing of lawmakers and answer questions about this, and the Senate report substantiated in the times that he did give over his documentation, he did alter and stall reports that were sensitive about the administration at the request of administration political aides. 

MELVIN: Carroll Leonnig, Washington Post, we are going to continue to follow this story, as I know you are, as well. Thank you so much for coming by. 

LEONNIG: Thanks, Craig. 

Latin America Political Scandals Sex Scandals MSNBC Daily Rundown Obama Watch Carol Leonnig White House Craig Melvin
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