Judicial Watch has obtained records from the U.S. Secret Service that shed light into a scandalous operation in which agents were covertly redeployed from the White House compound to protect a close friend of the agency’s director during a dispute with a neighbor.
The friend, Lisa Chopey, was also the administrative assistant of former Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan, and was embroiled in a discord with a neighbor in her rural community of La Plata, Maryland. At Chopey’s request the agency opened a federal investigation into the neighbor, Mike Mulligan, and surreptitiously redeployed agents assigned to guard the White House to protect her, the records show. Chopey accused Mulligan of “disturbing the peace” by riding noisy “four wheelers” around the neighborhood, according to the records obtained by JW under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The Secret Service reportedly conducted undercover surveillance on Mulligan and his live-in girlfriend, harassed them and ran database checks. The effort was variously referred to as “Operation Moonlight” and “Operation Moonshine,” which is amusing considering drunken Secret Service agents, including a member of President Obama’s protective detail, recently made headlines for crashing a car into a White House barricade following a late-nigh party. Operation Moonshine commenced on July 1, 2011, the Secret Service documents obtained by JW reveal.
The scandalous affair was exposed last year when a mainstream newspaper broke the story that agents in a special surveillance unit were pulled off duty for at least two months to go an hour’s drive to Chopey’s Maryland home. Then Secret Service Director Julia Pierson contacted the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General to request a probe into the matter involving her predecessor. After all, the Secret Service claims to be one of the most elite law enforcement organizations in the world with responsibilities that include protecting national and visiting foreign leaders as well as criminal investigations.
Nevertheless, the Secret Service has been rocked by a number of scandals in the last few years. Besides the drunken agents plowing a government vehicle into a White House security gate, a dozen agents brought prostitutes to their hotel rooms during a 2012 world leaders’ summit attended by President Obama. A mainstream news outlet called the incident a debauchery that caused an uproar and surprised many who previously regarded Secret Service agents as a highly disciplined force of dark sunglasses, earpieces and unreadable facial expressions.
The Secret Service suffered another major blow when a psychologically disturbed man with a knife jumped over the White House fence and actually managed to run across the North Lawn, into the executive mansion and to the entrance of the East Room. Earlier this year a drone flew over the White House and landed in an area that’s supposed to be secure. The device was described as a quadcopter drone and the Secret Service told media outlets that it crash-landed in a tree on the southeast side of the complex around 3 a.m.