Posted: 9:55 am Thursday, May 14th, 2015
By Jamie Dupree
In the wake of an internal report on a March incident involving two senior Secret Service agents, senior lawmakers in both parties say the details show the need for major internal reforms to change what they labeled a “dysfunctional environment.”
“Having reviewed the IG’s report, we continue to believe a major cultural overhaul is essential to restoring the Secret Service to its former stature,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) in a joint statement.
Chaffetz and Cummings zeroed in one detail in the inspector general’s report which indicated that two agents – after an evening of drinking – were not forced to submit to a field sobriety test, even though fellow officers suspected they had been drinking.
“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 lawmakers said.
The watch commander denied making that statement, which was reported by one of the uniformed officers who had stopped the two agents, Marc Connolly and George Ogilvie.
Connolly and Ogilvie had earlier attended a retirement party for a fellow Secret Service official; while most of the invitees left, they stayed along with two others.
“None of these four individuals – Connolly, Ogilvie, and the two Secret Service personnel – could recall what, or even whether, the others in their small group were drinking,” the report stated.
After leaving a downtown Washington, D.C. bar, the two men drove back to the White House compound to retrieve one of their cars – it was then that they stumbled into the scene of a bomb threat investigation and were stopped by fellow officers.
“All three officers at the scene thought something was “not right.” They did not smell any alcohol, and none of them noted that either agent slurred their speech or otherwise appeared intoxicated, but each of the officers thought that the agents were “not making sense,”” the report related.
The report concluded it was “more likely than not” that the agents’ judgment was “impaired by alcohol” that night.
Reportedly, Connolly has decided to retire, after 27 years with the Secret Service.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.