The Secret Service is installing an elaborate security system in a private Arlington home visited regularly by President Carter's son Jeff and his wife Annette.
It is the only such security installation the agency has made in a home not occupied by people it is assigned to protect, The Washington Post has learned.
A knowledgeable source said the Secret Service is taking the unusual action because some agents assigned to guard the president's family have complained that they were uncomfortable being inside a house where marijuana was being smoked.
A source close to the Carter family said yesterday "it is fairly common knowledge" in the White House that Jeff and Annette Carter go to the Arlington house to "listen to rock music and smoke dope."
Jeff and Annette Carter, who are 26 and have lived for the last two years in the White House, declined through a spokesman to comment.
The owner of the house at 2600 N. Powhatan Dr., who rents it out to a 25-year-old woman on the White House staff, said the Secret Service told her the security devices will enable agents to monitor security inside the house while they are parked outside in a specially equipped van. In the past, agents have been inside the house's basement when the young Carters were there.
Secret Service spokesman Ken Lynch refused to comment on the reason for the installation of the devices, other than to say it was for "security purposes." A government source said the equipment is worth between $2,000 and $3,000.
"We never discuss the personal lives of anyone we protect. No matter what actions our protectees take, we cannot discuss them," Lynch said.
Mary Hoyt, White House press secretary to First Lady Rosalynn Carter, said that "Jeff and Annette don't want to comment on speculation affecting their private lives."
Jeff Carter, the president's youngest son, graduated with an honors degree in geography last year from George Washington University. He currently works for a former professor on a computerized map project, according to Hoyt, Jeff Carter and his wife were vacationing in Georgia yesterday.
Rhonda Bush, who rents the Arlington house and works as director of correspondence for Rosalynn Carter, said Friday she did not think it was "appropriate" to be asked whether marijuana was smoked inside the house.
"Marijuana is so insignificant. I hate to see it getting such attention," said Bush, who was interviewed in the living room of her house. Later she denied that she or the Carters ever smoked marijuana on the premises.
The living room of the house on Powhatan Drive is equipped with a $1,200 stereo system, a strobe light and a video recorder hooked up to a color television set. There are more than 100 record albums in the room. Bush said Jeff Carter's favorites include records by rock groups Pink Floyd, Super Tramp and Bruce Springsteen.
Bush, a thin, dark-haired woman who described herself as a "very close friend" of the Carters, said that Jeff and Annette come to her house "three or four evenings a week" to listen to music, watch videotapes and occasionally play cards. She said the Carters usually stay at her house from about 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
"It was our hideaway," said Bush, who has been a close friend of Annette Carter since they met seven years ago at a sorority at the University of Georgia. She said the Carters have been coming to the house regularly for two years.
A source close to the Carter family described Jeff and Annett Carter as having a healthy marriage and spending a great deal of time with Bush.
"The only wild thing they do is go to Rhonda's (house), listen to rock music and smoke dope," the source said.
Bush said that the Carters "cherish the privacy" of the Arlington house where they can relax "without worrying who comes through the door." In an interview with The Post in 1977, Jeff Carter said he could see "how people got tired of living" in the White House. He said it's like "living in a museum... Everything you do, people know about."
Bush described Jeff as "real low-key. He is not a publicity type person. That kind of low-key projection he has is real comfortable here."
Bush's rented house, assessed this year by Arlington County at $73,300, is located in a quiet residential area about six miles from the White House. In the living room of the house there is a framed cover from The Rolling Stone magazine featuring a characature of President Carter.
While the Secret Service refused any comment on the type of security installation at the house, bush said it will enable Secret Service agents to park a van outside the house and hook up to a security system inside.
Technicians began two weeks ago installing electronic equipment, including security monitors on doorways, Bush said. Outside, technicians have begun to install a dual meter electrical junction box that can furnish more current than the standard box now in service.
Secret Service spokesman Lynch said yesterday the security devices are being installed "because of the amount of time the people (Jeff and Annette) spent there.
"Every place that a protectee goes we do a survey to determine the best possible security allowable in that place that is viable," Lynch said. He said the security system at the Arlington house is being installed as a result of such a survey.
The owner of the house, Paula Ann Jameson who lives in New York City, said yesterday that the Secret Service contacted her several months ago about the security installation.
"I don't have any objections. My house will be so well protected," Jameson said.
Jameson said the Secret Service promised to remove the security equipment when Jeff and Annettee Carter stop visiting the house so frequently.
The law enforcement responsibilities of Secret Service agents frequently have bumped against the values of children of recent presidents. Jack Ford told reporters in 1975, when his father was president, that he saw nothing wrong with the "cautious" use of marijuana.
"I've smoked marijuana before and I don't think that's so exceptional for people growing up in the 1060s" Ford said then.
A Secret Service agent who sat beside Jack Ford when he made the marijuana statement in Portland, Ore., said this week he was surprised that the then president's son admitted using the drug. The agent said Jack Ford had never smoked marijuana in the presence of Secret Service personnel. CAPTION: Picture 1, Electrical junction box placed on house at 2600 N. Powhatan Dr., Arlington, By Tom Allen -- The Washington Post; Picture 2, The home of Rhonda Bush, at 2600 N. Powhatan Dr., Arlington., By Tom Allen -- The Washington Post