“These agents, who were there to protect the president and the White House, were improperly diverted for an impermissible purpose,” Roth said in an Oct. 17 memo to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. The report was made public Wednesday.
The inappropriate assignment, known as Operation Moonlight, was intended to protect Lisa Chopey, an assistant to then-Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan. The staffer had experienced a falling-out with a neighbor whose boyfriend allegedly chased after her truck with an all-terrain vehicle.
President Obama was at the White House on two of the five days that the diversions occurred in July 2011, according to investigators. The staffer’s home is in a rural part of southern Maryland, nearly an hour’s drive from the executive mansion in Washington, D.C.
“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,” Roth said.
The inspector general’s memo follows a series of Secret Service scandals and recent revelations by The Washington Post about missteps in handling security breaches. The agency’s past two directors have resigned over the matters.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (Miss.), the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, said the memo is “yet another example showing that the Secret Service has serious systemic problems that need to be addressed.”