Alicia A. Caldwell of the Associated Press reported this week that the two secret service agents who were involved in driving a government vehicle through a secured area and hitting a barricade at the White House in March were “more likely than not” impaired by alcohol according to a report released by a government watchdog on Wednesday.
Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth found that Marc Connolly and George Ogilvie spent about five hours at a bar during and after a retirement party for a colleague and ran up a “significant” bar tab before driving to the White House on March 4. Their tab included eight glasses of scotch, two vodka drinks, three beers and a glass of wine.
CNN had reported back in mid-March that the two agents who crashed into the White House barricade “were allowed to go home after a supervisor on duty overruled on-duty law enforcement who wanted to arrest the agents and conduct sobriety tests.” At that time, Washington Post reporter Carol D. Leoning, who had broken the story, told Wolf Blitzer, “The officers for the Secret Service who monitor the safety of the White House complex and ultimately the president and his family felt that these two individuals may have been intoxicated.”
Caldwell reported that “Connolly, the deputy special agent in charge of the Presidential Protection Division, announced his retirement in advance of the report’s release”–and that “Ogilvie, the assistant special agent in charge of the agency’s Washington field office, has been placed on administrative leave.”
Both Connolly and Ogilvie “told investigators they only had a few of the drinks over the course of the night.” Ogilvie reportedly said that “some of the drinks on his tab, including five glasses of scotch, were given to other people at the bar, though he could not recall who received the drinks.”
Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy said Wednesday he was “disappointed and disturbed at the apparent lack of judgment described in this report. Behavior of the type described in the report is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Following the incident at the White House, “Clancy appeared before lawmakers to explain the March 4 incident, which involved a late-night disruption at a White House command post during an investigation of a possible bomb.” According to CNN, Clancy hadn’t learned “about the March 4 incident until five days later from an anonymous email.” He described the delay as unacceptable. He told lawmakers that he delivered a “good, stern talk” to his staff “upon learning he was kept in the dark.”
According to Caldwell, Secret Service officers who were on duty and “investigating the suspicious item when Ogilvie and Connolly drove through” told investigators that they thought something was “not right” and the men were “not making sense” when they spoke to officers on the scene. Still, none of officers “gave the agents a field sobriety test.” Ogilvie and Connolly were “instead allowed to leave the White House complex driving government-owned vehicles, despite a watch commander’s concern that Connolly was not fit to drive.”
Secret Service Agents Were ‘Likely’ Alcohol-Impaired: Report (Huffington Post/AP)