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Secret Service agent made sexually suggestive Facebook comment about Sarah Palin

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The secret service suffered fresh damage to its already battered reputation on Friday when it was disclosed that one of the agents involved in the Colombia prostitution scandal posted pictures on Facebook of Sarah Palin accompanied by a sexually suggestive comment.

The security service supervisor, David Chaney, had been assigned to protect her during the 2008 presidential campaign while she was John McCain’s vice-presidential running-mate.

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The photographs show Chaney in the background at a car door with Palin in the foreground. In a comment under one of the pictures, Chaney wrote: “I was really checking her out, if you know what I mean?”

Palin, interviewed on Fox on Thursday night, responded angrily. “Well, this agent who was kind of ridiculous there in posting pictures and comments about checking someone out. Well check this out bodyguard: you’re fired.”

Chaney, 48, was allowed to take early retirement this week in the aftermath of the Colombia prostitution scandal.

Another of the secret service supervisors forced out was named as Greg Stokes, an assistant special agent who ran the bomb-sniffing canine unit, who has been fired, though he is contesting this.

The identities of Chaney and Stokes were revealed by the Washington Post, which also disclosed the Facebook posting.

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Both had worked for the secret service for two decades. A third, more junior, agent who has also been ousted has not yet been named.

Eight others under investigation have been placed on administrative leave and have had their security clearance suspended. Also under investigation are 10 military staff.

The secret service were in Cartagena to help protect Barack Obama while he was attending a summit.

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The release of the names of those linked to the partying in Colombia has added fresh momentum to calls by Congress for punitive action against those involved and for investigations into the secret service culture.

Members of Congress, after being briefed by the secret service, predicted more sackings or early retirals could follow. Pete King, Republican head of the House homeland security committee, said: “Several more people will be pushed out.”

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Also disclosed in the last 24 hours is the identity of the escort whose row over payment led to night of partying becoming public, Dania Suarez.

About 20 women are being interviewed. Conflicting versions are emerging, with some saying some of the women involved had not sought payment. The story came to light when Suarez created a scene, claiming she had been promised $800 but was offered much less.

Lawrence Berger, a lawyer representing Chaney and Stokes, complained to Reuters about “trial by mob”. He said Stokes will vigorously defend himself from the accusations.

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The Chaney Facebook comment about Palin will cause secret service almost as much embarrassment as the Colombia incident, in part because of the revelation that he viewed her as a sex object but also because he breached the code that bodyguards remain discreet.

Chaney made the comment apparently in response to comments from others on his Facebook page.

© Guardian News and Media 2012

[Photo of via Sarah Palin via Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com]

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In a secluded region in Russia’s Arctic they are rejecting Putin in rare protest

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Lyudmila Laptander, an activist advocating autonomy for her mineral-rich Nenets region in the Russian Arctic, worries authorities are planning to sacrifice its traditions for the promise of economic enrichment.

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The autonomous region on the edge of the Arctic Ocean was gripped by protests in May against the government's plans to integrate it with neighbouring Arkhangelsk.

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People are paying to hire this donkey to crash their Zoom meetings

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The coronavirus pandemic has led millions of people to embrace meetings via Zoom, but admittedly, those can be as tedious as in-person conferences.

So one animal sanctuary in Canada, in dire need of cash after being forced to close to visitors, found a way to solve both problems.

Meet Buckwheat, a donkey at the Farmhouse Garden Animal Home, who is ready to inject some fun into your humdrum work-from-home office day -- for a price.

"Hello. We are crashing your meeting, we are crashing your meeting -- this is Buckwheat," says sanctuary volunteer Tim Fors, introducing the gray and white animal on a Zoom call.

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Republican senators are suddenly trying to social distance — from Trump

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There’s something interesting in today’s news:

A number of Republican Senators have said they are skipping the Republican National Convention this year. The convention was originally scheduled in Charlotte, North Carolina, but at Trump’s insistence was relocated to Jacksonville, Florida, last month. The stated reason was that Democratic North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper would not commit to permitting a full convention out of concerns about the spread of coronavirus, but the abrupt switch to Florida, less than 80 days before the convention, still seems odd to me. Regardless, the switch has created a new problem: Florida is in the midst of a dramatic spike in coronavirus cases, setting a record for new cases in a single day during the weekend —11,458—and running low of ICU beds.

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