Two US Secret Service agents were subpoenaed by a House of Representatives committee on Tuesday after a breach incident occurred near the White House this month when both agents allegedly drove a car in drunken condition past the barricades of White House.
Republican Jason Chaffetz, who heads the House Oversight Committee, said that they took the step after the Department of Homeland Security declined to cooperate them in the case.
“We therefore must take the regrettable step of compelling the agents for interviews before the Committee,” Chaffetz said in a statement.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson expressed his disappointment over the move, saying it is regrettable that Chaffetz had taken “the unprecedented and unnecessary step of subpoenaing two members of the US Secret Service that is accountable for providing protection to the American President”.
Johnson claimed that Chaffetz’s assertion that DHS is not cooperating with them “is simply wrong”.
In a statement, Chaffetz further stated that the Secret Service director had last week testified before the committee about the whole incident of March 4 and thereafter DHS had offered the committee staffs to interview a number of Secret Service personnel, including the agents under subpoena.
Chaffetz, however, didn’t identify the Secret Service staff against whom he had issued subpoenas. He said the committee had requested DHS for interviews with agents who could shed light not only on the March 4 incident, “but also on why the Secret Service appears to be systemically broken and in desperate need of both leadership and reform.”
The Secret Service has been facing ire for a series of high-profile security lapses in the recent times.
A security breach on September 19 forced former Director Julia Pierson to step down from the post in October.
On September 19, an unidentified man crossed the fence and entered the executive mansion with a knife.