Crash stories differ
CNN interviews with multiple sources reveal that while the two agents were returning from a farewell party, it’s still unclear when, exactly, the agents were stopped, and what gave the impression that they weren’t entirely sober.
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According to one source, the agents implicated in the incident are George Ogilvie, a top supervisor in the Washington field office, and Mark Connolly, a high-ranking member of President Barack Obama’s personal security detail.
Ogilvie was driving Connolly 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.
The two agents drove through the area that was part of the suspicious package investigation, first apparently driving under the police tape.
Multiple sources emphasized that, at least in arriving at the initial security checkpoint, the agents did not appear to be behaving erratically.
A law enforcement source familiar with the incident said “the car was moving pretty slowly,” a speed another source described as “literally one mile an hour.”
The Washington Post reported that the agents under investigation disrupted an active bomb investigation and drove right past the package. The Post has also reported the agents appeared intoxicated.
While approaching the first security checkpoint at the White House, the car nudged an orange barrel out of the way, moving it just a few feet, one source said. There was no collision, the source said, and no damage to the car.
The source said the security checkpoints went smoothly — the car was stopped at the first for a few seconds while the agents’ IDs were checked, and again at the second, where officers checked the car for explosives using a dog and a detection device.
This source could not explain when the conduct of the agents became an issue with the other officers, but indicated it didn’t happen during the initial security checkpoints — opening the possibility that the incident under investigation took place at a later point that night.
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.
Secret Service Director Joe Clancy did not learn about the incident until five days after it occurred, according to a law enforcement source close to the investigation. Sources could not say whether that was before or after the White House was informed.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Thursday decried the latest misconduct from the agency, with House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz saying the situation “begs a lot of questions” and warning the state of the Secret Service has put the first family at risk.
“The more I’ve learned about [the incident], the more concerned I’ve become,” he said on CNN. “We’re very united, Republicans and Democrats, in saying that the safety of the president is paramount, and we’re putting this person in jeopardy, and his family in jeopardy.”