You may have heard the media reports that two Secret Service agents drove drunk through a crime scene and crashed into the White House barricades. Thanks to newly-released video footage, we now know those allegations were remarkably false, despite the media uproar.
ABC News reports:
Video of the incident released Tuesday shows no drama, no collision and at most, a low-speed vehicle maneuver which bumped a temporary traffic barrel out of the path of the entrance of the White House complex. The video has a limited view, but does not show indications of a particularly active crime scene.
As far as I know, Dan Bongino, who is a veteran of the agency, was the first and only one to defend the agents when this story first broke. The event, such as it was, happened around 7:30 PM EST, not exactly the “late night car accident at White House” that The Washington Post claimed.
“You are being misled by the media on this story,” Bongino said on his podcast, referring to his sources. “This story has been sensationalized. There was no accident, no slamming into a barricade.”
He questioned the veracity of the allegations that were being made, and his social media accounts lit up with angry comments. Now that the video has been released, we can see that Bongino’s account of the events were accurate.
Bongino, who has been critical of the agency’s missteps in the past, revealed that the incident happened in the evening, and one agent was driving the other agent to retrieve his vehicle.
The “possible bomb,” which turned out to be nothing, had not yet been cordoned off, but the driver had the wherewithal to cautiously and deliberately nudge an orange traffic barrel aside so that he could safely avoid the mysterious package. As Rep. Jason Chaffetz noted in a hearing earlier this week, the video shows that the crime scene was not very active, contrary to the media’s reports.
Now that the video has been made public, it’s clear that the media got it wrong. Embarrassingly wrong.
To hear the press tell this story, it was like a scene out of The Hangover, which could not be further from the truth. Carol Leonnig of The Washington Post, who broke the non-story, wrote, “The vehicle ran through security tape before hitting the barricades.”
Leonnig went on to say that “the agents allegedly drove into the barricade, disrupting an active investigation.” In a follow-up report, Leonnig wrote that the agents were “suspected of driving under the influence” and “may have driven over the suspicious package.”
The rest of the mainstream media took it from there, disparaging the reputations of the agents, the agency, and even questioning the safety of the President. The Hill and New York Daily News quickly published stories of the incident, citing The Washington Post.
Meanwhile, The New York Post‘s headline reads “Secret Service agents ‘drunkenly crashed car’ into barricade.” Their story reveals the identities of the agents within just a few sentences. The New York Post repeated the claim that the vehicle’s lights were flashing, which would have been a violation of protocol in non-emergency situations. This also turned out to be untrue.
Coverage of the story, or non-story, was even more outrageous on television as CNN reported that two senior Secret Service agents “crashed a car into a White House barricade following a late-night party.”
Some media outlets are quietly backtracking. The Washington Post now says that the incident was “milder” than first reported. Marc Ambinder, a writer for Politico wrote a lengthy apology to the two agents (which Politico refused to publish), and he should be commended, but the damage is already done.
The media slobbered over themselves to disparage an honorable agency, with a near-impeccable record of success, already suffering from low morale.