Indeed, the video of the March 4 incident he has reviewed shows the vehicle driving at a speed of about 2 mph before “pushing aside a plastic barrel” standing outside of a White House checkpoint, according to Clancy. Earlier this week, he said the barrel was “nudged” by the government vehicle but did not fall over.
With several cameras in the area of the White House, video from certain angles of the incident were lost because, “by practice,” the cameras tape over their content every 72 hours, Clancy said. Nothing was deliberately “erased,” he added.
Nevertheless, he said he has instructed his staff to contact the manufacturer of the cameras to see whether the company that built them can help retrieve the lost video.
"We understand it’s a concern,” he said. “We're doing everything we can to retrieve those images and be as transparent as we can be."
Clancy also said “there’s no question” the practice of taping over surveillance video every 72 hours needs to change. He said the practice began before he became director, and it has been based on privacy concerns that extended archives of surveillance video could amount to “databases" of those visiting the White House or walking the streets around it.
Speaking before a House panel Tuesday, Clancy acknowledged that how he handles this controversy is a "first test" for him as he tries to chart a new course for the Secret Service. Clancy reiterated frustration that it took his personnel five days to inform him of the allegations that two senior-level Secret Service agents were "inebriated" and crashed into the White House grounds.
That delay “is unacceptable” and “puzzles me, but it’s not going to happen again,” according to Clancy. He said he held a senior-staff meeting to “ma[k]e clear” that he needs to be promptly notified about such allegations, and he promised lawmakers that any Secret Service employee found to have concealed information “will be held accountable.”
“Our mission is too important for this to happen,” he said. “It undermines my leadership, and I won’t stand for it.”
Lawmakers told ABC News the two agents had been at a retirement party before driving to the White House to retrieve another vehicle.
Clancy emphasized today it’s a violation of agency policy for any Secret Service employee to drive through an active crime scene, and information about the incident should have been sent up the chain of command.
"They are still allegations,” Clancy said of reports the agents were impaired by alcohol.
Nevertheless, when uniformed officers confronted the agents, a supervisor ordered them to let the agents go without charge, government sources said. The supervisor is still on the job, House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told ABC News. Unlike the agents in the car, the supervisor has not been reassigned. pending the investigation.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Pierre Thomas three weeks ago, Clancy vowed to chart a new course for the Secret Service.
“We have not received an unfair rap,” he conceded. “I think when you fail, and we have failed, we own it. Now, it’s up to us to correct it.”
In September, a man with a small knife in his pocket jumped the White House’s perimeter fence and made it deep inside the presidential building. That came more than two years after the Secret Service was shaken by the 2012 prostitution scandal out of Cartagena, Colombia.
At the time those scandals and others unfolded, Clancy was the head of security for Comcast, having left the government in 2011 after 27 years with the Secret Service. Clancy was “shocked” by what happened, he said.
Then, last month, a small drone flew over the fence and crashed on the White House grounds - prompting a predawn security scare. President Obama was in India at the time, and although the incident turned out to be a recreational flight gone awry, Clancy said he's “certainly concerned” about the threat a drone like that could pose.