Secret Service agents investigated for car crash at White House
Did Secret Service Agents Drunkenly Crash Car into White House Barrier?.
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. Two agents – one of them Mark Connolly, the second-in-command on President Obama’s personal protective detail – are accused of getting drunk at a party, then running their car through security tape and into a barricade at an entrance to the White House. At a time when the life of the President of the United States has never been in more danger from nefarious enemies around the world intent on killing him, one of his own chief bodyguards behaves like an out-of-control frat boy. The incident, which is under investigation, comes on the heels of a series of scandals about the conduct and leadership of the agency that protects the president and his family. Astonishingly, in the period from 2004 to early 2013, the Secret Service counted 824 cases where agents were cited for misconduct – according to an official Department of Homeland audit.
A dozen agents were exposed for taking prostitutes back to their hotel rooms in Colombia during an advance contingent visit in April, 2012, before a Presidential trip. Officers at the scene of the accident reportedly wanted to arrest the allegedly offending agents and conduct sobriety tests, but were ordered to stand down and let them go home. An administration official said President Barack Obama had been informed of the investigation and supported the decision to have the inspector general lead that review. The leaders of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee — Republican chairman Jason Chaffetz of Utah and top Democrat Elijah Cummings of Maryland — issued a statement Wednesday evening saying, “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.” In the last six months, several top agency officials, including former Director Julian Pierson, have been forced out amid revelations of multiple, serious presidential security breaches.
During a State dinner for the Indian Prime Minister in 2009, two reality TV stars Michaele and Tareq Salahi managed to gate-crash the event – passing through two security check points and even meeting President Obama. A Secret Service spokesperson tells PEOPLE that director Joe Clancy turned over investigation of the “allegations of misconduct” to the DHS Office of Inspector General.
A four-member panel of former senior government officials concluded in a report released last year that the agency was too insular and starving for leadership. 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. Chaffetz and Cummings, whose committee has been investigating the problems at the agency, said, “Although recent steps have been made to bring new leadership in at the highest levels, this incident begs the question of whether that is enough.”
Two agents were sent home from a March 2014 trip to Amsterdam after drinking heavily, just days after alcohol was suspected to have played a part in another Secret Service car crash in Miami. In another 2012 incident, an officer from the uniformed division was arrested after being found drunk and passed out on a Miami street corner about 12 hours after a presidential visit. At Nelson Mandela’s funeral in December, 2013, a bogus sign language interpreter suffering from schizophrenia faked his credentials and ended up on stage three feet away from Obama throughout the President’s speech.
Not just any agent, but the one seen in all the infamous news footage running to the President’s car after the first shot is fired and leaping onto the back trying to put himself in front of Kennedy. After the Colombia scandal, then-Director Mark Sullivan issued new conduct rules for agents and officers who were traveling, including ordering that agents stop drinking 10 hours before reporting to duty.
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