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Oversight Committee Issues Subpoena To 2 Secret Service Agents

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has issued subpoenas to two Secret Service agents, setting up a confrontation with the embattled agency.

The subpoenas are linked to an investigation into an incident in March, when two potentially drunk Secret Service agents appeared to bobble the investigation into a potential bomb near the White House.

Republican committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said that during a hearing last week, Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy promised access to Secret Service agents who could shed light on the incident. Since then, Chaffetz said, Clancy reneged on the offer.

"In negotiations with the Department of Homeland Security, the Department requested that information remain secret and be kept from Congress and the American people," Chaffetz said in a statement. "Those restrictions are unacceptable. Under such restrictions, the Committee cannot perform its essential duties to evaluate and propose much-needed legislative reforms for this troubled agency."

Here's how NPR's Brian Naylor described the incident in question:

The March 4 incident began, the panel said, when a woman drove her vehicle to a security gate outside the White House and announced she had a bomb. She dropped off a package and drove away.

According to a timeline provided by the House committee, the package sat unattended for 17 minutes as cars and pedestrians passed by.

After the area had been marked off, the two Secret service agents drove onto the scene, their car appearing to nudge aside an orange barrel that had blocked access.

According to an anonymous emailreleased by the committee, the two agents, including a member of President Obama's personal security detail, both appeared to be "extremely intoxicated" after having attended a retirement party earlier that night.

The committee says the officers they want to talk to are not the ones who were in the car.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.