WASHINGTON

- Three more Secret Service employees have been forced out of the government, bringing to nine the number of people who have lost their jobs in the prostitution scandal roiling the agency.

Two employees have resigned and a third is having his national-security clearance revoked, the Secret Service said Tuesday. The employee whose clearance is being revoked can appeal the decision.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said one of the resigning agents stayed at the Hilton Hotel in Cartagena, Colombia, where Obama stayed for the Summit of Americas. The others stayed at the nearby Hotel Caribe.

Two others have been cleared of serious misconduct. Last week, six employees, including two supervisors, were forced out and another was cleared of serious wrongdoing. The three who were cleared will still face "appropriate administrative action," the Secret Service said.

The scandal erupted after a fight over payment between a Colombian prostitute and a Secret Service employee spilled into the hallway of the Hotel Caribe. A dozen military personnel have also been implicated.

Obama acknowledged Tuesday that the scandal was "a little distracting" and pressed for perspective. "These guys are incredible. They protect me. They protect Michelle. They protect the girls. They protect our officials all around the world," the president said on NBC's "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon."