TODAY   |  March 26, 2014

3 Secret Service agents sent home; 1 found drunk

Officials say three Secret Service agents were pulled from President Obama’s detail in Europe and sent home after one of them was found drunk in an Amsterdam hotel. NBC’s White House correspondent Peter Alexander reports.

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>>> we turn now to a new embarrassment for the secret service . three agents who were preparing for the president's arrival in europe earlier this week have been sent home after one of them was found drunk in a hotel. nbc's peter alexander 's in brussels, traveling with the president. good morning to you.

>> reporter: matt, good morning to you. it is another black eye for the secret service . it's still under scrutiny for a separate scandal, that prostitution scandal in colombia two years ago. this latest incident took place just one day before president obama arrived here in europe . with president obama this morning paying his respects to fallen soldiers from world war i at belgium's cemetery, the agency assigned to protect the president is dealing with another embarrassing episode. sources confirmed one of the agents was found drunk and passed out in a hallway of the president's hotel sunday morning, barely 24 hours before president obama arrived for a week of intense international diplomacy . hotel security contacted the u.s. embassy in the netherlands which in turn alerted secret service managers, including the agency's new director julia pearson who is traveling with president obama on this trip. in total, three employees were sent home sunday for what a spokesman called disciplinary reasons. the " washington post " reports all three were members of the elite counter assault team known as c.a.t. it comes two years after another high-profile secret service scandal where a dozen agents and officers in colombia ahead of the president's arrival there brought prostitutes back to their hotel rooms after a night of heavy drinking. the president called the agents' behavior unacceptable.

>> we're representing the people of the united states and when we travel to another country, i expect us to observe the highest standards because we're not just representing ourselves.

>> afterward, the secret service announced a new code of conduct , sources say these agents violated.

>> reporter: officials insist the president's safety was never at risk. the white house isn't commenting. president obama gives a speech later today focused on european unity and security, matt. the real effort here is to reassure europe that the u.s. will standby its side in the latest showdown with russia.

>> peter alexander in brussels this