A lead agent in President Obama's security detail and another senior Secret Service official have been reassigned after a new report Wednesday of misconduct involving the beleaguered agency.
Two agents crashed a government vehicle into security barricades on the White House grounds after leaving a party last week, the Washington Post reported Wednesday, citing witness accounts.
Agents activated the vehicle's flashing lights and showed badges to get through an area that had been closed off during an investigation of a suspicious package, against agency rules that prohibit using flashing lights without cause, the witnesses told the newspaper.
Nicole Mainor, a spokesman for the Secret Service, confirmed that the agency was aware of allegations of misconduct involving two employees on March 4. Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy directed that the investigation be turned over to the Inspector General's Office of the Department of Homeland Security, which houses the Secret Service. Clancy pledged full cooperation.
The two employees involved have been reassigned to non-supervisory, non-operational assignments, a Secret Service official said.
Obama is aware of the allegations and supports the decision to turn the investigation over to Homeland Security, said an administration official, requesting anonymity to discuss the personnel matter.
The crash came less than a month after Obama named Clancy, the trusted former leader of his protective detail, to serve as the new permanent head of the Secret Service. Clancy took over with a mandate to clean up an agency that has seen major security lapses over the last year and subsequent scrutiny of its effectiveness.
Clancy had served in an acting capacity after the dismissal of Julia Pierson, who led the agency during a major breach of security last fall in which a man armed with a pocket knife hopped the White House fence and made it into the building before being apprehended by agents. Earlier this year, a small drone aircraft landed on the lawn, raising further concern about the agency’s ability to secure the White House even now that it is on high alert.
Pierson had served in the job for just more than a year, having taken over the agency after another scandal involving personal misconduct among agents in Cartagena, Colombia, before an Obama visit.