Huntington and Scruggs didn’t sleep together that night, she said, but about a month later, while she was sitting at a bar, Huntington came up behind her and covered her eyes. “Guess who,” he said. Scruggs remembered not seeing a wedding ring on his left hand.
The couple saw each other for a year, usually shacking up in a hotel. Scruggs, who was 29 when she met Huntington, said that he told her he was divorced and that he confided his marital troubles in long heart-to-hearts. He talked about his children. He told Scruggs he loved her. He bought her a watch for Christmas and met her mother. “He is the most charming person you’ll ever meet,” Scruggs told a reporter.
But after the 2008 elections, Huntington was spending less time in Texas. His relationship with Scruggs faded, leaving her wounded and confused. Huntington, meanwhile, had already moved on. According to news reports, he’d also had an affair with another woman he’d met in the same Waco bar while in Texas for Jenna Bush’s wedding in May 2008. Maybe it’s because Holly Snow was closer to Huntington’s age—she’s 41—that she didn’t believe him when he claimed to be separated from his wife. Huntington confessed he was still married.
“He was lonely,” Snow told the New York Daily News. “He is the type of person that needs attention. That’s his personality.”
Three years later, during a trip with President Obama to Dublin, Huntington began another affair, with a 41-year-old Canadian woman he’d met in an Irish pub, according to an account she gave to the Daily News.
The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, was immediately drawn to the agent. “He’s stunning,” she said. “He’s a gorgeous guy. There were a whole group of them, not just him. He was the only one that stood out.”
She said Huntington claimed to be a former Navy SEAL. (He’s not.) The two met again in August 2011 when they were both in Manhattan. She spent two nights with Huntington. On the second evening, she said, the couple made a double date with another Secret Service agent and a woman whom Huntington said the agent “sees when he’s in town.”
When Huntington and Suarez reached the Hotel Caribe, he registered with the front desk that he was bringing a guest back to his room, as was required by hotel policy. After what Suarez described as “normal” sex, Huntington passed out.
Suarez would later claim that, had she been so inclined, she could have rifled through his belongings and obtained information of presumably vital national security. She speculated—not unreasonably—that this could have provided fodder for blackmail or that it might have been of interest to terrorists or organized criminals wanting to penetrate President Obama’s security.
At 6:30 the next morning—Thursday, April 12—the front-desk clerk called Huntington’s room and said it was time for his guest to leave. Suarez asked for her payment. “I tell him, ‘Baby, my cash money,’ ” she later told the New York Times.
What happened next is a matter of dispute. Huntington’s version, according to sources familiar with his claims, is that he never knew Suarez was a prostitute and he told her to leave when she asked for money. Suarez—who later wrote a book about her night with the agent—claimed there was no misunderstanding and that she had clearly set her price before she went to the hotel. (Huntington has sold his home in Severna Park, and associates say he has moved with his family to an undisclosed location. He couldn’t be reached.)
Huntington gave Suarez the equivalent of about $30 in local currency and demanded she get out. “Let’s go, bitch. I’m not going to pay you,” he said, according to Suarez, and shoved her out the door.
Suarez banged on the door of Bongino’s room, across the hall, where her friend—who didn’t ask to be paid—had spent the night. Suarez demanded that Bongino come up with the money to pay her. Suarez said that she threatened to call the police and that Bongino pleaded with her not to. He eventually went from room to room, asking his Secret Service brothers for “scoots,” the term they use for local currency, or any US dollars they could spare. Bongino came up with $250 in mixed currency and gave it to Suarez.
During the commotion, a Colombian police officer, apparently stationed on the hotel floor, inquired about the argument and told Bongino he should pay Suarez. There are conflicting accounts about whether the police officer was advocating for Suarez or merely suggesting to Bongino that he give her the money to keep her quiet. But once she had the money—about a third of what she claimed she was owed—Suarez left the hotel with her friend and got into a cab. They never reported the incident.
Huntington was hardly the only agent who brought a woman back to his room that night. Nine men paid or solicited prostitutes, according to a Secret Service investigation. One man even brought back two women, who he later said he didn’t know expected to be paid. Only a few men had sex with women they hadn’t solicited.