Secret Service Chief Joseph Clancy Says Reports of White House Crash Are Exaggerated

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The director of the Secret Service told Congress on Thursday that reports of agents crashing a car into a barricade at the White House earlier this month are exaggerated.

“There was no crash,” Director Joseph Clancy plans to say, according to prepared testimony released ahead of his appearance in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s homeland security panel.

“The video shows the vehicle entering the White House complex at a speed of approximately 1-2 mph, and pushing aside a plastic barrel,” he plans to say. “There was no damage to the vehicle.”

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Clancy told Congress earlier this week that he only learned about the incident on March 9, five days after it happened, and from an anonymous source. News accounts have said that the agents were drinking at a party beforehand.

Clancy plans to tell Congress that the delay in his learning about it is unacceptable. “It undermines my leadership, and I won’t stand for it,” he plans to say.

Video of the incident does not show a clear picture of what happened, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told NBC News on Wednesday.

But the Utah lawmaker also said there is a chance that some tapes of the incident have been erased because surveillance tapes around the White House are erased after 72 hours.

A Secret Service spokesman told NBC News that video footage is generally kept for 72 hours, but said that “specific video footage is maintained for investigative and protective intelligence purposes.”

The Secret Service’s inspector general is investigating.


— Kristen Welker