WASHINGTON — The Secret Service does not often get a black eye behind those oh-so-cool sunglasses. It's got a shiner now.
The public face of the service is one of steely professionals in impeccable suits, wearing discreet earpieces and packing even more discreet weapons. Agents are expressionless except for their ever-searching gaze, lethal automatons ready to die for a president.
By reputation, stoked by Hollywood myth and the public's fleeting glances at dark-windowed motorcades, they are anything but party animals.
But what happened in Colombia didn't stay in Colombia.
The exposed Secret Service secrets have put the storied agency under a different line of fire, as lawmakers and internal investigators try to get to the bottom of officers' behavior and any implications for the safety of those they protect, starting with President Barack Obama.
Eight Secret Service officers have been fired and three disciplined, and a dozen military personnel have had their security clearances suspended, in the unfolding investigation of sexual misbehavior by agents who traveled to Cartagena, Colombia, this month to set up security for Obama's visit.