August 8, 2022

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Secret Service agent returns to US from Israel after alleged ‘physical altercation’

Jerusalem – A member of the U.S. intelligence community who was allegedly involved in a “physical confrontation” in Jerusalem and briefly arrested by Israeli police returned to the United States from Israel on Monday, the agency said.

On Wednesday, a Secret Service spokesman told CBS News that the agency was notified of the meeting late Monday, and that the agent working in Israel was “briefly arrested and questioned by Israeli police, who was arrested without charge. He was released.†

Four people briefed on the dispute had more details about the client’s night.

A Secret Service agent was off duty with other agents at a bar in Jerusalem on Monday night. A woman at the bar had contact with the officer and an argument ensued. According to three sources, the customer pushed the woman during the argument.

Sources said the woman involved was not injured, but called the Israeli police to report it to the authorities.

Israeli police arrested the agent and notified the US embassy in Israel, which contacted US intelligence headquarters, according to three sources.

The agent involved was a member of the Counterattack Team, a Secret Service heavy weapons tactical unit that assists the Presidential Security Division, a source familiar with the case said.

This counterattack team is usually sent on high-level presidential trips.

The Secret Service also said, “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 came to know about the incident said that they were involved in alcoholism. Another person familiar with CBS’s internal investigation says the Secret Service is investigating whether the agent was drunk. The source also said the agent would explain what happened to intelligence on Wednesday.

President Biden was 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.

When asked for more specific details about what drove the agent to Jerusalem, Secret Service spokesman Anthony Gullelmi told CBS News, “We cannot comment or confirm the details because our investigation has just begun.”

“We hold all employees to the highest professional standards, and you can see the results of our strong accountability culture,” Gullelmi said, adding that all agents must receive “annual integrity training” and have “professional standards” and descriptions of behavior. Departure on any foreign missions.

This is not the first time a Secret Service agent has returned to the United States ahead of a presidential trip abroad. In May, two Secret Service agents from Seoul, South Korea, were sent home and placed on administrative leave after an off-duty incident in which one member physically “wrangled” a local taxi driver.

Local police investigated the incident and no one was arrested or charged. The Secret Service members left for the United States less than an hour and a half before Biden arrived in South Korea as part of a five-day tour of Asia.

Jordan Farhi contributed to this report.

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