Two Secret Service employees were shipped back to the US from South Korea this week following an alcohol-fueled confrontation with a local cab driver ahead of President Biden’s trip to the country, according to multiple reports.
ABC News reported Friday that an agent and an armed physical security specialist assigned to go to Seoul to help prepare for Biden’s visit went out to dinner on a recent evening and hit up multiple bars.
Later that night, the pair reportedly became intoxicated and the agent got into a heated argument with the cabbie.
Police were eventually called to the scene, though only one of the two workers was reportedly investigated in relation to the incident. Neither of the Secret Service employees were detained, arrested or criminally charged.
The incident took place outside the hotel where Biden will be staying in Seoul, according to NBC News.
Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told The Post that the agency is “aware of an off-duty incident involving two employees which may constitute potential policy violations.”
He added that the two staffers will be “immediately returned back to their post of duty and placed on administrative leave.”
“There was no impact to the upcoming trip,” Guglielmi said. “We have very strict protocols and policies for all employees and we hold ourselves to the highest professional standards. Given this is an active administrative personnel matter, we are not in a position to comment further.”
The decision to send the employees home was reportedly made while Biden was en route to South Korea Thursday.
The incident would not be the first time Secret Service employees have behaved badly while abroad. Most notoriously, several agents were sent home from a 2012 presidential trip to Colombia for a series of offenses, including hiring prostitutes.
The president arrived in South Korea on Friday afternoon local time, kicking off a five-day trip to the Far East. As his first order of business, Biden toured a Samsung computer chip factory with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol
“Our two nations work together to make the best, most advanced technology in the world. This factory is proof of that,” the president said. “That gives both the Republic of Korea and the United States a competitive edge in the global economy if we can keep our supply chains resilient, reliable and secure.”
“This vibrant democracy has become a powerhouse of global innovation by investing in educating its people, in companies like Samsung that are driven by responsible development of technology and innovation,” he added. “It’ll be critical to shaping the future in the direction of our two countries, the direction we both want to go.”
Samsung last November announced plans to open a $17 billion semiconductor factory in Tyler, Texas. A semiconductor shortage last year hurt the availability of autos, kitchen appliances and other goods, causing higher inflation worldwide. The president noted that the Texas plant would add 3,000 high-tech jobs and the construction would include union labor.
“These little chips,” Biden said, “are the key to propelling us into the next era of humanity’s technological development.”
Biden will travel to Tokyo on Sunday, where he will meet with Emperor Naruhito and Prime Minister Kishida Fumio before participating in a Monday summit with the leaders of Australia, India and Japan.
SOURCE: New york post