Report: Secret Service Blasted Again for Improper Behavior
Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 06:51 PM
In a report to Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson, Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth blasted the Secret Service for pulling agents off the White House detail in 2011 five times to check up on the safety of Lisa Chopey, a pal of then-Deputy Director Keith Prewitt and assistant to then-Director Mark Sullivan, the Associated Press reports. On two of those occasions, President Barack Obama was in residence,
The report comes at a bad time for the Secret Service, embroiled in incidents including a knife-toting man climbing the White House fence and making it inside the mansion before being tackled, causing the resignation of director Julia Pierson. Pierson was appointed after a 2012 Secret Service prostitution scandal in Colombia during a presidential visit.
In an action dubbed “Operation Moonlight,” Secret Service “prowler teams,” normally tasked with responding to suspicious persons around the White House, instead drove to Chopey’s Maryland home, nearly an hour away, to deal with her neighbor problem, the Washington Post reports.
The neighbor reportedly had knocked out some of Chopey’s father’s teeth and chased her in a vehicle.
The report notes that while they were assisting Chopey, “the prowler team would have been unable to respond to exigencies at the White House,” the AP reports.
“These agents, who were there to protect the president and the White House, were improperly diverted for an impermissible purpose,” Roth’s report states. “The Secret Service’s mission is to protect the president of the United States, and not to involve itself in an employee’s purely private dispute best handled by the local police.”
The Blaze reports that Chopey complained to Prewitt, who told A.T. Smith, assistant director for operations, to do something to help Chopey. Prewitt and Chopey are gone from the Secret Service, but Smith is the agency’s current deputy director.
The Secret Service has denied that Obama’s security was compromised, but Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, in charge of investigating the Secret Service’s lapses, called that “hogwash,” and said the report “shows how problematic the Secret Service is, top to bottom. This is inexcusable,” The Blaze reported.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee, told the Post that the report is “yet another example showing that the Secret Service has serious systemic problems that need to be addressed.”
Meanwhile, Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said, “The Secret Service has received the OIG memorandum and is reviewing it for findings.”
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