Report: Secret Service Agents Drove Car Into White House Barricades After Drinking
Updated at 8:44 p.m. ET
There's another scandal at the Secret Service. The Washington Post is reporting that the administration is looking into claims that two senior agents, including one who is a member of President Obama's detail, drove a government car into security barricades at the White House after drinking at a party on March 4.
Robert K. Hoback, a Secret Service spokesman, said the agency "is aware of the allegations of misconduct involving two of our employees at the White House Complex."
"If misconduct is identified, appropriate action will be taken based on established rules and regulations," Hoback said.
He said Joe Clancy, the director of the Secret Service, "has directed that this investigation be turned over to the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General."
A Secret Service official said that the two agents "have been reassigned to non-supervisory, non-operational assignments."
Witnesses told The Washington Post that the car's flashing lights were on at the time it drove into the barrier. The Post adds:
"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 newspaper identified the two agents under investigation as Mark Connolly, the No. 2 agent on Obama's detail, and George Ogilvie, a senior supervisor in the Washington field office. They had been attending a retirement party at a nearby bar for departing Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan, The Post reported.
In a statement, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the ranking member on the panel said: "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. The Committee as a whole remains committed to restoring the integrity of this elite agency and improving accountability at all staff levels."
This latest incident comes on the heels of a series of embarrassing revelations about the Secret Service that led to the resignation of its director, Julia Pierson, last October. As NPR's Bill Chappell previously noted, a rogue drone flew over the White House fence, and
"last September, a man scaled the fence around the residence and entered the White House while carrying a knife.
"Those high-profile security breaches followed several instances of Secret Service agents behaving badly. In one case there were reports of supervisors sending sexually suggestive emails to a subordinate; in another, several agents were recalled from the Netherlands, where they used an advance trip ahead of the president's visit as an excuse to drink so much they reportedly passed out in a hotel hallway."
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