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Obama briefed on discipline of Secret Service agent

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama was briefed on the situation involving three Secret Service agents who were sent home from Obama's trip to the Netherlands for disciplinary reasons, the White House said on Wednesday.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that Obama believes "that everybody representing the United States of America overseas needs to hold himself or herself to the highest standards."

He said Obama supports Secret Service Director Julia Pierson's "zero-tolerance" approach to such matters but had no other comment.

The agents were disciplined after going out for a night of drinking, the Washington Post reported. One of the agents was found drunk and passed out in the hallway of a hotel near The Hague a day before the president arrived in Europe, said the Washington Post, which first reported the incident, citing three people familiar with it.

None of the agents were supervisors, a Secret Service source said on condition of anonymity.

The agency has been trying to restore its straight-laced reputation after a scandal involving prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia, in 2012.

A report by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's inspector general released in December urged tougher management and disciplinary standards and recommended that the service monitor and address excessive alcohol consumption and personal conduct within its workforce.

The IG also urged strengthening and clarifying policies for dealing with misconduct and disciplining employees.

The agency named a female director, Julia Pierson, in March 2013 after the Colombia events.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Richard Chang)

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