A new report from the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General concludes that two Secret Service agents’ judgment was “more likely than not” impaired by alcohol when they disrupted an investigation of a suspicious package at the White House in March.
The Inspector General’s report reads:
While during their interviews each denied drinking to excess that evening, we must assess those denials in light of the [Uniformed Division] officers’ observations of the agents’ behavior, the fact that they had just spent the last five hours in a restaurant/bar in which Ogilvie ran up a significant bar tab (at least some of which he was unable to account for), and that two highly experienced Secret Service supervisors drove into a crime scene inches from what the rest of the Secret Service was treating as a potential explosive device and which, under different circumstances, could have endangered their own lives and those of the UD officers responding.
The report describes how Secret Service agents Marc Connolly and George Ogilvie spent hours drinking at a colleague’s retirement party before driving to the White House on March 4, where officials were investigating a suspicious package.
Thursday morning House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) expressed dismay at the findings, specifically the fact that no sobriety tests were administered.
“Having reviewed the IG’s report, we continue to believe that a major cultural overhaul is essential to restoring the Secret Service to its former stature. It is sadly revealing that the watch commander felt it would be a ‘career killer’ for him to administer a field sobriety test to a higher ranking agent, especially given concerns within the agency about potential retaliation for reporting misconduct,” the pair said in a joint statement, adding that it displays “signs of a dysfunctional environment that must change.”
Ahead of the report’s release this week, according to the Washington Post, Connolly notified the Secret Service that he will be retiring. According to Fox News Ogilvie has been place on administrative leave.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) further called for the agency to send a “strong message” that bad behavior will be met with consequences and that employees must report inappropriate conduct.
“Not only did the two Secret Service agents endanger their own lives and innocent civilians by choosing to drink and drive, their poor judgement also imperiled the entire White House complex by bumbling into an active bomb investigation,” Goodlatte said, adding “more must be done” to address the problems at Secret Service.