White House Clears Advance Staff of Possible Misconduct

Apr 23, 2012 3:37pm

An internal White House review has found no evidence of misconduct by members of the advance staff  ahead of President Obama’s visit to Cartagena, Colombia, earlier this month, spokesman Jay Carney said today.

 “There have been no specific credible allegations of misconduct by anyone on the White House advance team or the White House staff. Nevertheless, out of due diligence, the White House counsel’s office has conducted a review of the White House advance team,” Carney told reporters during the daily briefing.

“And in concluding, that review came to the conclusion that there is no indication that any member of the White House advance team engaged in any improper conduct or behavior,” he said.

Carney said the inquiry was initiated Friday by the counsel’s office in consultation with the White House chief of staff, Jack Lew.  It concluded over the weekend.

“The incident we’re talking about here involved specific allegations of misconduct by the Secret Service and members of the military,” Carney stressed. “The decision to conduct a review here was made internally out of due diligence.”  He would not discuss specifics about how the investigation was conducted or whether the findings would be shared with any contacts outside the White House.

The internal inquiry followed days of questions from the press and by some congressional leaders about whether any White House staff may have been involved in the misconduct, which so far includes 11 Secret Service members and 12 members of the military.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirmed today that one member of the White House Communications Agency — the military unit that provides communications support to the president when he travels — was also under investigation for alleged involvement in the incident.

“These are military personnel staffed by the military.  They are not members of the White House staff.  They are not chosen by the White House senior staff.  They are no more members of the White House staff than Secret Service personnel who you see every day on the grounds here are members of the White House staff,” Carney said.

The White House retains confidence in Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan who briefed Obama on the investigation in the Oval Office on Friday.  Carney said today the “serious discussion” that took place did not include Sullivan offering his resignation.

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