There is a highly troubling report out of Washington that former Secret Service director Mark Sullivan pulled a special team of secret service agents called the Prowler Surveillance team to protect his assistant, Lisa Chopey, after she said that a neighbor was harassing her. Such an assignment is highly questionable in the use of public resources for such matters. If there was a criminal threat, it should have been handled by the local authorities since it was not related to the service.
You may recall that Sullivan resigned after the scandal involving members of the presidential protection team hiring prostitutes ahead of a trip by President Barack Obama to Colombia in 2012. He resigned in 2013.
In this case, Sullivan reportedly had agents sent to a rural area outside La Plata, Md. in what was known as Operation Moonlight. That involved two agents monitoring the home day and night from June 30 through July before slowly tapering off in August. To make matters worse, supervisors reportedly were concerned that the assignments were increasing the security risk to the presidential compound where they normally patrol. Other reports say that there was no such risk because the agents were pulled from a different area.
Sullivan said that it was a supervisor who approved the monitoring without his knowledge and that the monitoring was relatively brief. However, whoever had knowledge or ordered the assignment, this seems a clear misuse of government resources and authority.
Yet, Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said that the work only lasted a few days over the Fourth of July weekend and was part of the agency’s standard response to potential threats to an employee. Yet, any threat was clearly not related to Chopey’s work at the agency and she was not an actual field agent. It was a neighbor to neighbor dispute — a local police matter. Indeed, it is not clear how this concern was first raised to the Secret Service and whether local police were ever notified.