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Secret Service Scandals Continue After Agents Crash Car Into White House Barricade


The White House says President Obama has full confidence in the director of the Secret Service. Two of its agents are under investigation for driving their car into a White House security barrier, reportedly after a night of drinking. NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

BRIAN NAYLOR, BYLINE: The agents involved include a member of the president's security detail. Both have been reassigned pending a probe by the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general. According to The Washington Post, which first reported the story, the two agents had been attending a retirement party. Afterwards, they drove their government car, with lights flashing, into the barrier. Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah chairs the House panel with oversight of the agency.

CONGRESSMAN JASON CHAFFETZ: Drinking on the job is not good when you work at McDonald's. And it's certainly not good if you're drinking on the job when you work for the Secret Service.

NAYLOR: Chaffetz says he's been briefed on the incident by Secret Service Director Joe Clancy, a former agent who officially took the top post at the agency last month after a series of embarrassing incidents. They included a man who jumped the fence and entered the White House last fall. Chaffetz, who says he would have preferred an outsider as Secret Service director, says Clancy has his work cut out.

CHAFFETZ: Mr. Clancy is a good man. He has the trust and confidence of the president and this is his big moment to show - show us and show the world - that he's serious about cleaning up the agency.

NAYLOR: According to the post, the two agents may have disrupted an active investigation of a bomb threat when they drove through the barrier the night of March 4. Chaffetz says what's most troubling to him about the incident is that a uniformed Secret Service officer wanted to give the two agents a breathalyzer test but was told by a superior to let the two go home. Brian Naylor, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR News' Brian Naylor is a correspondent on the Washington Desk. In this role, he covers politics and federal agencies.