[May 12, 2014]WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Top Secret
Service officials ordered agents away from their posts patrolling the
White House perimeter in 2011 to check on a personal friend and
assistant of the agency's former director, the Washington Post reported
The Secret Service agents were diverted to monitor a rural
residence outside La Plata, Maryland, nearly a one-hour drive from
Agents were told that then-Director Mark Sullivan was concerned his
assistant, Lisa Chopey, was being harassed by her neighbor. They
were sent to monitor the neighbor over a period of two months, the
newspaper said, citing three unnamed people familiar with the
Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan confirmed an "investigative"
vehicle was sent to check on the physical safety of Chopey, an
employee, but said that only occurred on the Fourth of July weekend
"These checks were conducted over a holiday weekend and ended once
the employee was able to contact the local court once it reopened,"
Donovan said in a statement, noting President Barack Obama and his
family were at Camp David in Maryland at the time.
The matter was referred to the inspector general at the Department
of Homeland Security, an internal watchdog that conducts
In a statement, Secret Service Director Julia Pierson said her
agency and the inspector general's office were committed to
completing a full investigation into the allegations.
"Director Pierson will ensure the Secret Service responds to any
findings from this investigation and implements any recommendations
or corrective actions identified by the DHS OIG as appropriate," the
"Any allegations of impropriety or misconduct will be aggressively
investigated and addressed," it added.
The White House had no immediate comment on the matter.
The agents sent to La Plata were members of a Secret Service team
code-named "Prowler" that patrols the area around the White House in
an investigative capacity with no specific assignment, Donovan said.
They are not part of the president's personal security detail.
"Because there were no protective assets used during these checks,
there was no impact on protective operations," Donovan said, adding
that the action followed department protocol.
The Post said some Secret Service agents were concerned the
diversions of agents to Chopey's home had increased security risks
and were a potentially illegal use of government resources, citing
two people familiar with those discussions.
The report comes about two years after the Secret Service was
embroiled in controversy over an investigation into agents hiring
prostitutes in Colombia ahead of an Obama trip there in 2012.
Sullivan retired from the Secret Service about 10 months later, in
(Reporting by David Lawder and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Jim
Loney, Paul Simao, Peter Cooney and)