Two members of the U.S. Secret Service are being investigated by the Homeland Security Department for allegedly driving a vehicle into a security barricade near the White House on March 4. The men may have been intoxicated during the incident, media reports said. Photo: UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo
WASHINGTON, March 11 (UPI) -- Two senior members of the U.S. Secret Service are the focus of a Homeland Security investigation for allegedly operating a government vehicle while intoxicated, and running the car into a security barricade at the White House.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the two agents had been drinking at a D.C. bar prior to the incident.
After leaving the bar late on March 4, the agents -- one of whom was identified as the second in-command of President Barack Obama's protection detail -- were returning to the White House when they encountered a security lockdown in the area over a suspicious package, the Post reported.
The agents allegedly arrived with the car's overhead lights active, showed their badges to gain entry and then drove through security tape and hit a temporary security barricade that had been set up near the presidential residence.
The agents -- identified as Mark Connolly and George Ogilvie -- have reportedly been reassigned to other duties within the agency pending the outcome of an investigation. Connolly is the second in-command of Obama's protection team, and Ogilvie is a senior supervisor in the Secret Service's Washington, D.C., field office.
Secret Service chief Joseph P. Clancy, who was appointed to the post just five months ago, said his agency has looked into the allegations and turned it over to the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general because the agents involved are senior members in the agency.
According to sources close to the investigation, the Post report said, law enforcement officers who witnessed the incident attempted to arrest the agents and conduct a field sobriety test on them but were overruled by a police supervisor at the scene. The agents were then permitted to go home.
The Washington Post, the first outlet to report the allegations, said neither Connolly nor Ogilvie has yet commented on the matter and Obama has been briefed on the case.
"If misconduct is identified, appropriate action will be taken based on established rules and regulations," Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said.
If true, the allegations of drunkenness might be a direct violation of Secret Service protocol, which was modified in 2013 following an investigation into misconduct by agents during a 2012 trip to Colombia -- in which some were even accused of soliciting prostitutes. The modified policy stipulates that no agent is permitted to consume any alcohol within 10 hours of reporting for a shift, and limits the amount of alcohol agents can drink anytime while off-duty.
Clancy, the 24th director of the Secret Service, was appointed by Obama last October in part to shore up the agency's reputation after a string of embarrassing security lapses -- including one last September in which a man armed with a knife jumped a security fence, ran across the lawn and made it all the way inside the White House before anyone stopped him.
A government report blamed the Secret Service for permitting the intrusion, citing poor agent training and lack of communication.
Clancy replaced Julia Pierson, who spent just 18 months on the job but presided over multiple security lapses -- including a shooting near the White House in 2011 -- that harmed the agency's reputation and diminished government and public confidence in her ability to lead the agency.