The Slatest

Another After-Work Party, Another Headache for the Secret Service

Secret Service officers stand watch as President  Obama returns to the Oval Office in October 2014.

Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

The Secret Service has yet another party problem on its hands.

The agency confirmed Wednesday evening that it had placed a high-ranking supervisor on administrative leave and suspended his security clearance as a result of what a spokesman called “allegations of misconduct and potential criminal activity.” The Washington Post, citing a pair of law enforcement officials in the know, filled in the details: A female agent is accusing her married boss, Xavier Morales, of making “unwanted sexual advances” and grabbing her at the agency headquarters after they returned to the office following a party at a downtown brewpub on the night of March 31:

The woman told police and agency investigators that Morales, her boss, told her during the party at Capitol City Brewing Company that he was in love with her and would like to have sex with her, according to two people briefed on her statements. In the office later, she alleged, Morales tried to kiss her and grabbed her arms when she resisted, according to the two people briefed on her complaint. The woman alleged that the two scuffled until Morales relented.

The party was reportedly held to celebrate Morales’ new gig as head of the Secret Service’s field office in Louisville, a position he had been slated to start this week. He had previously been a manager in the agency’s security clearance division, which is tasked with deciding when agents should lose their clearance and/or their jobs as a result of misconduct or other actions.

Neither the agency’s vague statement nor the Post’s more detailed report mentions alcohol. But a similar post-work social function last month also left agency officials scrambling to clean up a mess: On March 4 a pair of senior Secret Service agents allegedly drove their car into an active bomb threat investigation after returning to the White House from a retirement party at a D.C. bar.

The investigation into that incident is ongoing, but the available evidence suggests the agents involved had been drinking—according to the Post’s earlier reporting, the only reason we don’t know that for sure is because a senior supervisor stepped in and ordered that officers at the scene let the agents go without a field sobriety test. As I explained at the time, that incident was only the latest in a long string to suggest the Secret Service has a rather serious drinking problem. Regardless of whether this latest one does as well, it might not be a bad time for agents to consider either limiting their celebrations to more family-friendly establishments (laser tag, anyone?), or simply bringing their families along with them.