Military officials removed over 'improper conduct' with foreign women while travelling with Donald Trump in Asia

White House Communications Agency personnel reassigned over allegations about behaviour in Vietnam as part of President's detail

Carol D. Leonnig,Dan Lamothe,Julie Tate
Wednesday 22 November 2017 10:32
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Military officials removed over 'improper conduct' with foreign women while travelling with Donald Trump in Asia

Three military personnel have been reassigned from their White House jobs amid allegations that they had improper contact with foreign women while travelling with President Donald Trump on his recent trip to Asia, according to officials familiar with the situation.

The service members all worked for the White House Communications Agency, a specialised military unit that helps provide the President, vice president, Secret Service and other officials with secure communications.

The military is scrutinising three Army noncommissioned officers who allegedly broke curfew during Trump's trip to Vietnam this month, officials said.

Mark Wright, a spokesman for the Defence Department, confirmed that the Pentagon is examining the behaviour of personnel during the visit to Vietnam.

“We are aware of the incident, and it is currently under investigation,” Wright said.

Trump visited Vietnam as part of a 12-day swing through Asia.

The episode comes after four military personnel on the same White House team faced allegations related to their behaviour during a trip to Panama in August with Vice President Mike Pence. Those men - two from the Army and two from the Air Force - stood accused of taking foreign women after hours into a secure area as they were preparing for Pence's arrival, officials said.

They were all flown home before Pence arrived and stripped of their White House assignments pending the findings of the investigation, officials said.

Army Colonel Amanda Azubuike, a military spokeswoman, said an investigation into the Panama case has been closed and the findings forwarded to senior military officials for review. She said she was not aware of the final conclusions or any disciplinary action.

NBC previously reported that military members on the Panama trip had been removed from White House duty.

Service members with high-level security clearances are expected to report contacts with foreign individuals to ensure that their interactions do not compromise national security.

The mission of the White House Communications Agency is to prevent eavesdropping on presidential communications and to ensure that White House officials can be securely reached worldwide at a moment's notice.

If found guilty, the service members face the risk of losing their security clearances or could be subject to administrative discipline or courts-martial.

Spokesmen for Trump and Pence declined to comment and referred questions to the office of Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

The Washington Post

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