WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Two high-ranking agents are accused of crashing a government vehicle right into an investigation scene after leaving a party.
There are now serious questions about the Secret Service agency’s ability to protect the president.
Rick Ritter has the very latest on the investigation.
The Department of Homeland Security has taken charge of the investigation–an alleged incident local lawmakers say tarnishes the agency’s reputation.
It’s just the latest incident rocking the White House. Heavy allegations against a pair of agents have the Secret Service under fire once again.
“The agency has been severely damaged in recent years by failures,” said Joseph Clancy, Secret Service director.
On March 4, special agents Mark Connolly and George Ogilvie Drove an agency SUV on Pennsylvania Avenue toward the White House, heading to an investigation for a suspicious package.
Officials say the vehicle ran through security tape at the White House compound before slamming into barricades that were set up for the investigation.
Sources tell CBS News the agents appeared to be under the influence of alcohol after attending a retirement party for a colleague.
Officers wanted to arrest the agents, but were ordered to go home.
The Secret Service has been under scrutiny. In 2012, 13 agents were suspected of soliciting prostitution and bringing strippers back to a hotel room.
Last year, a man got by agents at the White House and managed to run through the mansion’s main floor.
“These issues have brought Republicans and Democrats together to address them,” said Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings.
Rep. Cummings is the top Democrat on the House Committee that monitors the Secret Service.
“No doubt about it, it does tarnish the agency’s reputation,” he said.
Ritter: “Secret Service has a new director, Mr. Clancy, who President Obama appointed last month to get a hold on incidents just like this. What do you think he needs to do specifically?”
Cummings: “He will probably be dismissing some people from the agency or inviting them to leave.”
If the allegations are true, Cummings believes the director will send a strong message to the entire agency.
“This incident is a wake up call, a very clear wake up call, that there’s still much more to be done,” said Cummings.
Cummings believes the investigation will wrap up quickly.
“If these facts are proven to be true, the Secret Service cannot afford to have these types of things happening,” he said.
Both agents were reassigned, but not placed on administrative leave.
Agent Connolly is second in command on President Obama’s detail.
Top White House officials are irritated they learned about the alleged incident for the first time Monday–four full days after it occurred.