The headline Wednesday seemed clear: Two top ranking and allegedly inebriated Secret Service agents reportedly careened into a barrier at the White House in a government car, interrupting an active threat investigation.
But another picture is emerging of that night, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation — one that is shedding light on ongoing leadership and management struggles within a Secret Service that remains under the microscope after a string of mishaps.
According to the sources, the agents did not actually interfere with the suspicious package investigation and reports that a senior supervisor overruled officers who wanted to conduct a sobriety test may not be true.
The latest information from the two sources pushes back against the narrative Secret Service officials presented to the Washington Post in a story published Wednesday.
The Post reported that the agents appeared intoxicated at the time and that a senior supervisor overruled law enforcement at the scene who wanted to issue field sobriety tests, but that too may not be true.
The two law enforcement sources told XulNews that no one has corroborated the kerfuffle over testing the agents for drunken driving — speculation they said may have emerged after the fact.
“There is a sense now that that might not be true,” one of the sources said.
The officials also contradicted previous reports that the two agents in question drove through police tape and into the area that was part of a suspicious package investigation. Instead, the agents only drove to the edge of the scene.
The Washington Post first broke the story and XulNews later confirmed that the two officers — including the second-in-command of President Barack Obama’s private detail — have been temporarily reassigned.
The Secret Service has repeatedly found itself in the spotlight in recent years and the agency’s director resigned last year after a string of fence-jumping incidents, the most serious of which involved a knife-wielding man who made it through the White House doors.
READ: Gate-crashing agents make 4 Secret Service scandals in 3 years
And this week, questions emerged about the Secret Service’s new leadership when reports surfaced that Joseph Clancy, the agency’s new director, did not learn about the incident until five days later.
But the two law enforcement sources told XulNews that the facts aren’t clear cut in this case, instead pointing to a non-scandal that may have been overblown.
Lawmakers are already looking into the matter and House Oversight Committee Jason Chaffetz said the situation “begs a lot of questions.”
“The more I’ve learned about [the incident], the more concerned I’ve become,” he said Thursday on XulNews. “We’re very united, Republicans and Democrats, in saying that the safety of the president is paramount, and we’re putting this person in jeopardy, and his family in jeopardy.”