Two Secret Service agents investigated for crashing into White House barrier (+ …

12 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

Washington: The Obama administration is investigating allegations that two senior Secret Service agents, including a top member of the president’s protective detail, drove a government car into White House security barricades after drinking at a late-night party last week, an agency official said on Wednesday. Officers on duty who witnessed the March 4 incident wanted to arrest the agents and conduct sobriety tests, according to a current and a former government official familiar with the incident. 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 following a string of security lapses at the White House and other embarrassing missteps and had vowed to restore the agency’s once-stellar reputation. Clancy on Monday directed that the inquiry be led by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector-general, in part because the incident involves such senior officials, a law enforcement official said.

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. Agency spokesman Brian Leary confirmed the investigation after questions from The Washington Post, saying the Secret Service was “aware of the allegations of misconduct involving two of our employees.” He declined to specify which allegations are the focus of the inquiry. “If misconduct is identified, appropriate action will be taken based on established rules and regulations,” Leary said.

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. 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. And a Secret Service official, speaking on background to Fox News, said the two agents have been reassigned to non-supervisory, non-operational assignments.

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.” 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. They said all of the agents’ activities on that part of the compound would have likely been streamed live to the agency’s emergency command center.

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. 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.

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. But Obama went with a trusted hand, picking Clancy, a 27-year veteran of the agency who had headed Obama’s security detail early in his administration and who had also worked with Connolly.

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