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US Secret Service agent detained in Israel over ‘physical encounter’

Secret Service stands guard as U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump depart the White House on Marine One, Oct. 15, 2018. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
July 14, 2022

A United States Secret Service agent was allegedly involved in a “physical encounter” in Jerusalem that led to him being detained by Israeli police, and later returned to the U.S., the agency first revealed this week.

A Secret Service spokesman told CBS News in a statement on Wednesday that the agent was “briefly detained and questioned by Israeli police, who released him without charges.”

Three sources said the off-duty Secret Service agent was at a bar with other agents in Jerusalem on Monday night. The agent and a woman at the bar got into an argument, during which the agent shoved the woman.

The sources said that while the woman was not injured, she called the Israeli police to report the incident. Israeli police eventually detained the agent and contacted the U.S. Embassy in Israel.

The embassy then notified the U.S. Secret Service headquarters, three sources told CBS.

Another source familiar with the situation said the agent was part of the Counter Assault Team, a tactical unit that supports the Presidential Protective Division.

“The employee has returned to the United States. In accordance with agency protocol, his access to Secret Service systems and facilities was suspended pending further investigation,” the agency said.

A source familiar with the investigation said the agency is trying to determine if the agent was intoxicated at the time.

Secret Service spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi told CBS News that the agency could not elaborate any further on the incident “given our investigation is just beginning.”

“We hold all employees to the highest professional standards and you are seeing the results of our strong culture of accountability,” Guglielmi said, noting that agents must undergo “annual integrity training” and hold meetings on “professional standards” prior to foreign assignments.  

The Secret Service incident occurred ahead of President Joe Biden’s arrival in Tel Aviv, where he mistakenly said during a speech that we must “keep alive” the “honor of the Holocaust.”

“Later today, I will once more return to the hallowed ground of … Yad Vashem to honor the 6 million Jewish lives that were stolen in a genocide and continue — which we must do every, every day — continue to bear witness, to keep alive the truth and honor of the Holocaust — horror of the Holocaust — honor those we lost, so that we never, ever forget that lesson, you know, and to continue our shared, unending work to fight the poison of anti-Semitism wherever it raises its ugly head,” Biden said, adding to a long list of presidential gaffes.