Two Secret Service Agents Reassigned, Investigated in Crash
Did Secret Service Agents Drunkenly Crash Car into White House Barrier?.
Several Secret Service supervisors attended the party with heavy drinking earlier this month that led to two senior agents driving a government car into security barricades at the White House, The Washington Times has learned. WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has been briefed on an incident in which two Secret Service officers are alleged to have driven a government-issued car into White House barricades last week after a party, a White House official said on Thursday. 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. The agents – identified by the Post as Mark Connolly, the second-in-command on Obama’s detail, and George Ogilvie, a senior supervisor in the Washington field office – happened to return as on-duty colleagues were clearing the complex in response to a suspicious package.
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. Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy has turned over the investigation to the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general, said Brian Leary, a Secret Service spokesman, in an e-mail.
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.
On yet another advance trip in March, 2014, three agents – part of the President’s counter-assault team – were sent home from the Netherlands for a heavy drinking session which led to one of them being found passed out in a hotel hallway. 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. 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. 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.” 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.
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