WASHINGTON - A secret service agent assigned to protect US President Barack Obama has apparently committed suicide, US media reported on Friday, amid an investigation into an alleged affair with a foreign national.
All such relationships have to be reported to the service to make sure there has been no breach of national security, though a law enforcement official told CNN that there was no evidence that this had happened in Prieto’s case.
The official said Prieto was not under investigation by the secret service’s office for professional responsibility but rather was involved in an ‘administrative process’. He had worked for the service for 20 years. His death is being investigated by police in Washington. The secret service made headlines earlier in 2012 after agents were found to be involved with prostitutes during an official trip by Obama to Colombia. The agency said it was “mourning the loss of a valued colleague”. Rafael Prieto, a married father, admitted to investigators that he had been having a long-term affair with a woman from Mexico. His relationship was revealed by an agent involved in the Cartagena scandal who was concerned that the Secret Service was not enforcing its rules consistently.
It is not thought that he had compromised national security with his relationship, but rather violated the agency’s own administrative rules by failing to disclose it