Rules lacking for Homeland Security employees traveling overseas, auditors say

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

It may seem like common sense that there would be rules for some of the nation's most elite law enforcement officers when working abroad, but a new government audit finds a lack of standards and training when it comes to drugs, binge drinking and prostitution.

In 2012, Secret Service agents brought prostitutes to their rooms in Colombia.

In 2014, they were found passed out in hallways in the Netherlands.

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The embarrassing incidents brought scandal to the agency and led to an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general into what rules are in place to prevent a repeat.

"These are common sense rules, but unfortunately common sense has not always prevailed in federal personnel actions. That is why they have to be spelled out," said Pete Sepp, of the National Taxpayers Union.

The inspector general found rules about alcohol, drugs and prostitution are not spelled out for overseas travel. The report said, "DHS has some limited, department-wide policies for off-duty conduct in general, but they do not specifically address employee conduct abroad."

For example, five of the six DHS departments do not have any policies prohibiting solicitation of prostitutes. The audit also found no training in place for off-duty conduct abroad.

In its official response, DHS said the agency does not need to state what behaviors are inappropriate off-duty and overseas.

DHS leaders have now pledged to spell out rules by this time next year for behavior while on international travel.