Probe Finds Secret Service Agents Were 'Likely' Impaired by Alcohol
Secret Service director says he's "disappointed and disturbed" by findings in report
A report from the Department of Homeland Security has found that two Secret Service agents were “more likely than not” impaired by alcohol when they drove into a security barrier at the White House on March 4.
The Washington Post has reviewed the report, which says that Marc Connolly, the second-in-command on President Obama’s detail, and George Ogilvie, a senior supervisor at the Washington, D.C., field office, spent five hours at a bar and were likely under the influence of alcohol when they drove to the White House to investigate a suspicious package that night.
Connolly this week notified the agency that he plans to retire, a federal official tells PEOPLE.
The report will be reviewed at a congressional hearing Thursday, and both Connolly and Ogilvie have been placed on administrative leave.
Both men had been at a work party with free drinks on the night in question, and then Ogilvie paid for 14 alcoholic drinks on a bar tab, although he did not account for who consumed them, and both have denied drinking in excess, the report says. It also notes numerous witnesses who smelled alcohol near the agents and who said they believed one or both men to be intoxicated.
Michael Braun, the watch commander that night, did not order a sobriety test (Connolly was his superior), and the report cited a possible problem with the culture at the agency, saying it has a “reputation for punishing or ignoring those who would further investigate or report such violations.” Witnesses say Braun had described the men as “hammered” that night, but also said that it would be “a career killer” to order a sobriety test.
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The report further notes 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 [uniform division] officers responding.”
Larry Berger, an attorney for Connolly and Ogilvie, told the Post it would be “wholly irresponsible and inaccurate” to conclude that the agents were drunk or guilty of misconduct.
Secret Service Director Joseph P. Clancy says in a statement to PEOPLE that “behavior of the type described in the report is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
“Our mission is too important. We owe it to the other 99% of Secret Service employees who perform their duties every day ethically and with dignity,” Clancy says.
• Reporting by SANDRA SOBIERAJ WESTFALL