Secret Service Demotes Supervisor, Reassigns Agents Over Drinking

Wednesday, 09 Apr 2014 11:37 AM

By Courtney Coren

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In the aftermath of recent drinking incidents on two presidential trips, the supervisor of one of the largest divisions of the Secret Service was demoted by agency director Julia Pierson, and almost two dozen agents were reassigned.

Stricter rules on drinking have also been put in place for agents in the special operations division, which prohibit agents from consuming alcohol 12 hours before reporting for duty and 24 hours before President Barack Obama arrives at any location. The Washington Post was informed about the changes by three sources.

Three Secret Service agents, who were part of the president's detail, were sent home in late March for drinking in Amsterdam before Obama arrived. One agent was found passed out in a hotel hallway.  This was in addition to another drinking incident in Florida earlier in March.

The changes were confirmed by Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan, who did not give  details about the reason so many agents were moved.

"Personnel are being reassigned as a result of staffing rotations and as a result of assessments made after two recent incidents of misconduct," Donovan said. "Director Pierson maintains a zero-tolerance policy regarding incidents of misconduct and continues to evaluate the best human-capital practices and policies for the workforce." 

Donovan did not explain why the special agent in charge of special operations, Dan Donahue, was removed.

After the incidents in the Netherlands and Florida, Donahue had mandated tougher drinking rules. Mike Rolin, the former deputy supervisor of the agency's Washington office, has replaced Donahue.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, the ranking GOP member on the Homeland Security Committee, told The Post that it raises the question of how common drinking problems occur within the agency, and he wonders if the new rules will help.

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