President Joe Biden made his first trip to the Middle East this week to visit Israel, the West Bank, and Saudi Arabia, but at least one member of the president’s Secret Service detail will not be around for the conclusion of that trip.
A member of a Secret Service advance team was briefly detained by Israeli police and then sent back to the U.S. following an alleged “physical encounter” with a woman, the Conservative Brief reported.
The alleged incident occurred Monday, before President Biden’s arrival in Israel, and the agent has been suspended pending an investigation into what happened, according to a spokesperson for the agency.
Sent home and suspended
NBC News reported Wednesday afternoon that the alleged “physical encounter” between a Secret Service agent and a woman had occurred Monday night as that agent and others were said to be finishing up dinner and were about to return to their hotel.
Local Israeli police had been called to respond to the alleged “assault” and they briefly detained and questioned the agent prior to releasing him without charges, at which point he was sent back home to the U.S.
A spokesperson for the Secret Service said of the agent in a statement, “In accordance with agency protocol, his access to Secret Service systems and facilities was suspended pending further investigation.”
Alcohol likely involved
By Wednesday evening, CBS News had a more detailed report on what had occurred based on four unnamed sources said to be knowledgeable about what transpired.
Per those sources, the agent had been off-duty and was at a bar in Jerusalem with other off-duty agents when a woman interacted with him and an argument ensued, at which point he is alleged to have shoved the woman, who then called local police to report the incident.
Two of the sources told CBS that alcohol had been involved in the incident and a third source confirmed that the Secret Service would investigate to determine if the agent had been intoxicated at the time.
The outlet further noted that the agent was reportedly a member of the Secret Service Counter Assault Team, a special tactical unit equipped with heavy weapons that often deploys to destinations with the advance team in order to already be in place ahead of a president’s arrival.
A similar incident in May in South Korea
It was actually just about two months ago that a similar incident occurred ahead of President Biden’s visit in May to South Korea, as NBC noted that two Secret Service employees had been sent home and placed on administrative leave following allegations that one of them had “engaged in violence” against a local man.
According to CBS, that incident had involved an off-duty employee getting into an “altercation” with a local taxi driver in Seoul, and though South Korean police had been called to respond and launched an investigation, nobody was detained or charged and the employees were sent back to the U.S. just hours before President Biden arrived.