ABC News’ Brian Ross revealed tonight that the list of customers of an alleged Washington-based prostitution service includes White House and Pentagon officials as well as prominent attorneys.
“There are thousands of names, tens of thousands of phone numbers,” Ross said. “And there are people there at the Pentagon, lobbyists, others at the White House, prominent lawyers — a long, long list.” Ross added that the women who worked for the service, potentially as prostitutes, “include university professors, legal secretaries, scientists, military officers.”
On Friday, Ross broke the news that U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Randall Tobias had frequented the escort service. Ross added new details to that story tonight, recounting how he asked Tobias in a telephone interview “if he knew any of the young women, their names. He said he didn’t remember them at all. He said it was like ordering pizza.” Under President Bush, Tobias oversaw a program helping men in poor countries “develop healthy relationships with women.”
UPDATE: The Washington Post carries a front-page profile of the DC Madam, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, in Sunday’s paper. Palfrey will be interviewed exclusively on ABC’s 20/20 on May 4.
ABC: Brian, I know you were the only reporter to talk to Tobias late this week before his resignation. What did you learn from him?
ROSS: Well, David, I talked to him one day before he resigned and told him that we had found his name and personal phone number on a list of clients of the so-called DC Madam’s escort service in Washington. And what he told me was that he in fact had been a customer of the service, but that he had not had sex. He had had what he called gals come over to his condo to give him a massage. He claimed there was no sex but that he was stunned by the fact that we were aware he was a client and that was his conversation. I asked him if he knew any of the young women, their names. He said he didn’t remember them at all. He said it was like ordering pizza.
ABC: You know, we understand his name is just one of many connected to the case of the DC Madam, as you mentioned. Why does she want the names to be made public?
ROSS: Well, she has been charged by federal prosecutors with running a prostitution service. She says it wasn’t prostitution, it was fantasy sex, legal sex, and she wants to call all of her prominent clients to testify. One, she says, it’s hypocritical of the government to go after her and the women who worked for her. And two, she wants them to testify as to whether there was or was not sex. And she’s intent on doing this. She’s turned down an opportunity to take a four-month prison sentence, plea out the arrangement. She wants to go to trial.
ABC: And Brian, I presume there are others on this list who will turn heads?
ROSS: There are thousands of names, tens of thousands of phone numbers, and there are people there at the Pentagon, lobbyists, others at the White House, prominent lawyers — a long, long list, and as well, the women who work for the service, David, include university professors, legal secretaries, scientists, military officers.