Report: Drunk Secret Service agents crash into WH barrier

12 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Drunk’ Secret Service agents crashed government car into White House barricade.

The Homeland Security Department is investigating two senior Secret Service agents accused of crashing a car into a White House security barrier, an agency spokesman says. The Washington Post reports that on duty officers who witnessed the incident had wanted to arrest the agents and test their alcohol levels after the crash. But the officers were ordered by a supervisor on duty that night to let the agents go home, said these people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive internal matter.

The episode presents an early test for the Secret Service’s new director, Joseph Clancy, who was appointed by President Barack Obama last month after a string of security lapses at the White House and other embarrassing missteps. One of the suspected drunks is a member of President Obama’s protective detail, the Post reported, citing one current and one former member of the protective agency. According to the Post, the agents under investigation are Mark Connolly, the second-in-command on Obama’s detail, and George Ogilvie, a senior supervisor in the Washington field office.

The vehicle ran through security tape before hitting the barricades, which an agency official said had been set up temporarily during the investigation into the package. The incident comes in the wake of a series of security breaches that resulted in the ouster of former Secret Service Director Julia Pierson and several top agency officials.

The then director of the Secret Service, Julia Pierson, stepped down from her role in October last year, partly due to this incident, and President Obama appointed Joseph Clancy, the former head of the President’s protective detail, to replace her last month. A Secret Service spokeswoman said in a statement the agency was aware of the allegations against the two agents and that “if misconduct is identified, appropriate action will be taken based on established rules and regulations.” Two senior officials on the House of Representatives Oversight Committee said that despite the changes in leadership, “this incident begs the question of whether that is enough.” “The fact that this event involved senior-level agents is not only embarrassing but exhibits a clear lack of judgment in a potentially dangerous situation,” said the statement by the committee’s Republican chairman, Jason Chaffetz, and ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings.

Witnesses reported that the car’s overhead flashing lights had been activated and both agents were showing their badges to get through the section of the grounds that had been closed off, according to people familiar with the incident. The panel recommended an agency outsider to replace Pierson, but Obama earlier this year tapped Clancy, a retired agent who led the agency on an interim basis after Pierson’s ouster.

At the time that the agents drove into the barricade, disrupting an active investigation, officers had not yet determined whether the suspicious package was a threat. She fled in her car, prompting a police chase that ended with both Capitol Police and Secret Service officers shooting multiple rounds and killing her. Six months before, several agents were implicated in tales of heavy drinking, one of which took place ahead of a presidential visit to the Netherlands and the other after a late-night traffic accident in Miami. In the spring of 2012, some agents and U.S. military personnel who were preparing for a presidential trip to Cartagena, Colombia, for the Summit of the Americas hired local prostitutes and brought them back to their hotel rooms. Three employees returned to duty, six either resigned or retired and four had their clearances revoked and were removed, according to an inspector general report.

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