The Secret Service said Thursday that Vice President Kamala Harris had a minor car accident earlier this week, and the agency now says her car hit a barrier after initially reporting a mechanical failure.
“During a preemptive move Monday, a vehicle in a motorcade underwent a slight correction and crashed into a barrier,” Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement Thursday. “The guard was transferred to a secondary car and the convoy continued to reach its destination. No one was injured.”
Guglielmi also said, “Initial radio traffic indicated that this was a mechanical malfunction and the agency’s leadership was informed by personnel supporting the motorcade’s movement. After the protective movement was completed, the drive was orally updated with additional relevant facts that the vehicle had hit a barrier.”
The car incident involving the vice president, and the subsequent discrepancy in how it was initially reported internally, is the latest incident that has thrust the agency into the spotlight this year and raises new questions about its transparency both internally and publicly.
The accident happened on Harris’ usual way to work. Her spokeswoman, Kirsten Allen, said the vice president had “a great deal of gratitude” for her Secret Service detail.
“The vice president was uninjured and appreciates the quick response from the USSS to get her to the White House safely,” Allen said.
The Washington Post first reported the inconsistency in the description of the incident and that it concerned the new Secret Service Director Kim Chettle, who began her job last month.
It’s the latest incident in a year that has seen the Secret Service come under increased scrutiny.
In April, four Secret Service employees were placed on leave after being accused in a federal investigation of being deceived by two men who claimed to be DHS agents.
A month later, two Secret Service agents were sent home from South Korea after an altercation with a taxi driver and two Korean citizens as Biden embarked on his first tour of Asia since taking office.
In July, the Israeli police in Jerusalem detained a member of the US Secret Service’s Secret Assault Team after he allegedly assaulted a woman outside a bar.
The agents’ actions and the agency’s retention of data were also scrutinized by the House Select Committee to investigate the January 6, 2021 mutiny at the U.S. Capitol.
Over the past decade, the Secret Service has been scrutinized for troubling security holes and frequent misconduct among its ranks.
Before the tall fences around the White House were installed during the Trump administration, agents repeatedly had to respond to individuals who had jumped onto the White House lawn.
During the Obama administration, party exhausted at a state dinner demanded an investigation that found agents did not follow protocol at a security checkpoint. And 11 Secret Service agents have also been implicated in an investigation into whether several agents returned prostitutes to their Colombia hotel prior to a presidential visit.
The Washington Post in 2014 also reported a series of security holes after a man fired a semi-automatic rifle from outside the White House at its facade, including that the Secret Service did not conduct a proper investigation until days after the incident.
This story has been updated with additional reports.