No Secret Service 'crash' at White House, video shows

Reuters / Gary Hershorn
Footage of the White House gate released by the government shows the Secret Service agents did not “crash” into any barricades, as original reports claimed, but merely nudged a traffic cone with their vehicle.

The video shows no obvious indications of an active crime scene the agents allegedly disrupted, aside from the cone the government vehicle nudged while entering the gate area from the street. The suspicious package the Secret Service was investigating at the time turned out to be a book.

Early reports on the incident by the Washington Post described two senior Secret Service agents “crashing” into a barrier surrounding an “active crime scene” outside the White House gate. The agents were returning from a colleague’s retirement party, and the reports implied they were driving under the influence of alcohol. Though uniformed officers said they wanted to administer a breath test, a supervisor overruled them.

The video appears to corroborate the testimony by Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy, who was repeatedly questioned by Congressional committees over the March 4 incident, and even asked to “change the culture” of the agency “in five minutes.” House Oversight Committee showed the footage at a hearing Tuesday, the third time they’ve grilled Clancy over the incident.

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Some of the footage from the incident was lost because security cameras around the White House retained their data for only 72 hours, Clancy told lawmakers at a hearing last week. That policy has since been changed to extend the retention to seven days, though lawmakers insist that is not enough.

Secret Service video of the incident remains unavailable, as it is part of the evidence in the ongoing investigation.