What happened the night of the Secret Service crash?

13 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Agents’ White House crash.

The US Secret Service said two agents were under investigation after an incident last week in which they were reported to have driven a government car into White House barricades after drinking at a late-night party. WASHINGTON —The leadership of a House panel called on the agency’s new director Thursday to supply surveillance video of a recent incident in which two senior agents drove into a barricaded area of the White House complex where they allegedly disrupted an ongoing bomb threat investigation.Washington (CNN)The circumstances surrounding the two Secret Service Agents under investigation for allegedly driving under the influence and reportedly interrupting an active bomb investigation remain murky, according to accounts from law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation.

The Washington Post reported that one of the agents involved in the alleged March 4 incident was a top member of President Barack Obama’s protective detail. The incident is an additional black mark on the Secret Service’s reputation after several cases over the past three years called into question the agents’ ability to protect the first family and behave appropriately while on duty. Now, lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle have voiced concern that this latest incident may be an indicator that new reforms are needed. “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,” Reps. Ogilvie was driving Collins back to his car, parked on West Executive drive, the source said, after a farewell party for retiring agency spokesman Edwin Donovan held at Clyde’s restaurant near downtown D.C.’s Verizon Center. 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”.

Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said they regarded the incident as “extremely serious,” saying that agents’ actions “may have detracted from the focus of a potentially dangerous security threat.” “This incident also raises important questions about what additional steps should be taken to reform the agency, and whether the problems at the USSS run deeper than the recently replaced top tier of management.” Clancy, a former director of the presidential security detail, was recently appointed the agency’s permanent director by President Obama. The report was released at a time when Congress was already investigating the Secret Service over a series of security breaches and scandals, including several fence-jumping incidents. Pierson herself was brought in to clean up the agency after the resignation of her predecessor Mark Sullivan, who was forced out when it was revealed that 11 agents had hired prostitutes and threw wild parties in Cartagena, Colombia, in April 2012 ahead of Obama’s visit there. Director Julia Pierson stepped down in October after an embarrassing White House breach on September 19 in which a man carrying a knife jumped the fence and ran in to the mansion. Then-Director Julia Pierson resigned in the wake of a government investigation that found that lack of training, poor decisionmaking, and communication problems were contributing factors.

But the official, who is not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, said the car was moving at such a slow speed that it pushed the marker a few feet but did not knock it over. Obama was “disappointed to hear the allegations,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters earlier Thursday, even before news broke that the agents may have disturbed a crime scene. Clancy — chosen by Obama to lead the agency last month after a lengthy external review — asked the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security to investigate. A U.S. law enforcement official confirmed to CNN that the officers in question were allowed to go home that night after a supervisor on duty overruled on-duty law enforcement who wanted to arrest the agents and conduct sobriety tests, a breach of protocol that’s sparked a Homeland Security Inspector General investigation. Both agents showed their badges to gain access to the area, but then suddenly drove through the security tape and hit the security barricade that had been temporarily set up for the investigation, according to the account.

The agents have been identified as Mark Connolly, the second in command of the president’s protection team, and George Ogilvie, a senior supervisor based in the Secret Service’s Washington field office.

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