Another Secret Service Incident Leads To Questions Of Drunk Driving And A Cover Up

Last week, two members of the Secret Service were involved in an incident near the White House that may have included driving while drunk:

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 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 P. Clancy, who was appointed by Obama last month after 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 inspector general, in part because the incident involves such senior officials, a law enforcement official said.

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. He added that the agency “will fully cooperate” with the inspector general’s office.

It doesn’t appear that the two agents were on duty at the time of the incident, but the fact that efforts were made to apparently cover up what appeared to be a DUI incident raises yet more questions questions about an agency that has been under fire for the better part of a year now. The question going forward is whether this incident will be handled differently than the misconduct in the past, and whether there will be repercussions for wrongdoing this time around.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Law and the Courts, Quick Takes
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. John Peabody says:

    Secret Service agents + Government Car + DWI + White House Barricade = “Aw, just let’em go?”. This is why we have tar and feathers.

  2. KM says:

    Yeah, if I crashed a company car into something on property while drunk my boss would be totally cool with letting me go home right then and there. After all, it’s not like they need to give a damn about it or anything – that’s what insurance is for, amirite?

    **sigh** Remember when you respected the Secret Service? It’s getting to the point where I can’t anymore…..

  3. Remamber that time a member of the general public crashed into the white house gate and was just let go?

    How Miriam Carey’s U-turn at a White House checkpoint led to her death

    Oh… yeah…

  4. Gustopher says:

    Yet another example of police officers letting other police officers off the hook when they do something wrong. Just fancy police officers this time.

    The supervisor needs to be fired, along with the agents in the car. The officers who were ordered to let it slide… If they didn’t report it, they need to be disciplined too, but I think suspension would be appropriate.

  5. Matt says:

    I’m surprised this isn’t Obama’s fault………..

  6. Matt says:

    @Stormy Dragon: My favorite part is how the SS agent who was out of uniform thinking it would be a great idea to stop the lady from leaving the secure area via the usage of a cooler and a gate….Anyone at that point would think they were under attack by a civilian…

  7. b. wilkinson says:

    Simple case of DUI. What’s to investigate?

  8. b. wilkinson says:

    @b. wilkinson: Simple case of DUI. What’s to investigate?

  9. anjin-san says:

    Some people clearly need to be fired here. And if the higher ups don’t want to do the firing, they need to be fired.

  10. TheoNott says:

    There’s clearly something rotten in the Secret Service. They’ve had one screwup or scandal after another for several years now. A major shakeup is an order.

  11. de stijl says:

    I have a theory that this crap has been happening for a long, long time and we’re just now hearing about it.

    This debacle and all the crap that has come out in the the last 5 years strikes me as a deep-seated institutional / cultural problem.

    Boozing and whoring got a pass as long as you didn’t get written up in The Post and you backed up your bros when they overindulged or they were gettin’ their freak on with the local talent when you’re overseas.

    It’s like the skimming cops, and boozing cops, and thumper cops and KKKops in every city in America. They’re everywhere and they eff up their job everyday and we don’t know cuz it’s not reported. The Secret Service are just fancy cops.

  12. Tyrell says:

    @anjin-san: If the government can’t do a better job of protecting the White House, how are they going to secure the borders ?
    “People streaming in here like it’s Saturday morning at the theme park!”