Two senior Secret Service agents under investigation for a late-night accident at the White House that involved alcohol have been reassigned to "non-supervisory and non-operational" assignments, according to a Secret Service official.
Two agents, including one who served on President Obama's exclusive protective detail, last Wednesday allegedly drove a government vehicle onto White House property and smashed into barricades after a retirement party at a nearby bar for the agency's former top spokesman.
Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said the agency is aware of the allegations of misconduct last Wednesday but did not provide details about the incident in question.
"If misconduct is identified, appropriate action will be taken based on established rules and regulations," Leary said.
Secret Service officials have briefed Director Joseph Clancy about the incident, and he has turned the allegations over to the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General.
"The Secret Service will fully cooperate with the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General in this investigation," Leary said. He then referred all further inquiries to DHS.
Obama is aware of the allegations and supports Clancy's decision to turn the investigation over to the DHS inspector general for a "thorough review," an administration official said.
"We're not going to comment further while that investigation is ongoing," he said.
The Washington Post, which first reported on the incident, identified the two agents involved in the accident as Mark Connolly, the second in command on Obama's detail, and George Ogilvie, a senior supervisor in the Washington field office.
Before the accident, the pair were allegedly drinking at a bar near the White House at a party for retiring agent Edwin Donovan, who served as the agency's top spokesman before a string of security scandals started plaguing the agency last year.
People familiar with the accident told the Washington Post that the car's overhead flashing lights had been activated and both agents were showing their badges to try to cut through an area of the grounds that had been portioned off because of an investigation into a suspicious package. Then the vehicle broke through security tape and hit barricades set up during the review of the suspicious package, according to the accounts.
The Post, citing a government official familiar with the details, also reported that officers on duty who witnessed the incident wanted to arrest the agents and conduct sobriety tests but were ordered by a supervisor on duty that night to let the agents go home.
The Washington Examiner reported in November reported that that the Secret Service has a history of imposing far lower penalties than the FBI for drunken driving or other alcohol-related incidents.
The FBI and the Transportation Security Administration require at least a 30-day suspension without pay for an off-duty drunk-driving charge.
In contrast, the Secret Service has imposed discipline in an uneven manner for alcohol-related incidents.
Over the past five years, the agency has had nine recorded incidents involving agents or officers charged with drunken driving, according to a Secret Service report outlining misconduct and disciplinary actions taken. It has had 27 other alcohol-related incidents that required some sort of disciplinary review.
In six of the nine drunken driving cases, the Secret Service employees charged received less than a 30-day suspensions and received only a warning about the potential ramifications to their top-secret security clearances.
This story originally published at 7:01 p.m. and has been updated since then.