The Slatest

Did the White House Cover Up Evidence an Aide Hired a Prostitute?

The Cartagena Hilton where Dach stayed.

Photo by Jose Miguel Gomez/Reuters

According to a Washington Post report published Wednesday night, an investigator in the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General says he was directed to cover up evidence that a White House aide hired a prostitute in Colombia:

“We were directed at the time … to delay the report of the investigation until after the 2012 election,” David Nieland, the lead investigator on the Colombia case for the DHS inspector general’s office, told Senate staffers, according to three people with knowledge of his statement.


Nieland added that his superiors told him “to withhold and alter certain information in the report of investigation because it was potentially embarrassing to the administration.”

The allegation against volunteer White House travel coordinator Jonathan Dach was part of a larger scandal involving Secret Service members paying women in the city of Cartagena for sex ahead of a visit by President Obama. Secret Service investigators said there was evidence Dach registered a prostitute at his hotel room. (Prostitution is legal under some circumstances in Colombia.) The White House decided there was insufficient reason to investigate the issue further—Dach denied and still denies he hired a prostitute—and said at the time that no one from its advance team was involved in “improper conduct or behavior.”


But: The Post says its reporters have seen “copies of the hotel logs for Dach’s stay … which showed that a woman was registered to Dach’s room at 12:02 a.m. April 4 and included an attached photocopy of a woman’s ID card.” And information contradicting Dach’s denials, an investigator in the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general’s office said to a Senate subcomittee investigating the DHS’s own internal investigation of possible misconduct in its Cartagena investigation (!), was removed from a DHS report on the incident by his superiors.

But, but: the Senate investigation found that the DHS whistleblower also told the DHS’s internal team that there wasn’t a coverup.

To keep this all straight:


  • The prostitution scandal was investigated by the Secret Service and the White House.
  • The scandal was also investigated by DHS.
  • The DHS internally investigated its own investigation after allegations of a coverup.
  • A Senate subcommittee then investigated the DHS’s interal investigation.
  • The Senate subcommittee says that the DHS whistleblower gave different versions of events to different groups.

The Senate subcommittee report, FWIW, is from April of this year. What’s new in the Post’s report, it seems, are the specific details of the allegation against Dach, including the revelation of his name. The next shoe to drop could be Dach’s firing/”resignation”—he now, somewhat ironically, works in the State Department’s Office on Global Women’s Issues—or perhaps the DHS whistleblower, David Nieland, will emerge to clarify his apparently contradicting accounts of what happened.