"Operation Moonlight"? Did Secret Service Go To Far?
A Maryland mom says she knows first-hand just how out-of-control the US Secret Service has become.
"It's like a violation of my civil rights, my civil liberties," she said.
She said Secret Service agents were parked outside her house in Maryland morning and night in something called "Operation Moonlight."
So, who is this woman? A threat to the president? A suspected terrorist maybe?
Nope. Brenda Allen is just a regular mom. Her so-called "crime?" She says she had a dispute with her next door neighbor who happened to be private secretary to the guy who once ran the Secret Service.
Washington Post reporter Carol Leonnig broke the story when she discovered that in June 2011, agents assigned to protect the White House and the first family were instead being sent to Allen's house.
"Operation Moonlight; when I first heard it I thought it just couldn't possibly be true. A series of agents whose job it is to patrol the White House perimeter were instead ordered to abandon their posts and go down to La Plata, Maryland and check on the safety of this Secret Service director's administrative assistant, his secretary," explained Leonnig.
Leonnig said that every day, two agents were assigned to Allen’s street, there were two shifts and the operation lasted four months.
So, what was the alleged feud about? Dirt bikes. Yeah, dirt bikes.
Brenda Allen's family says they got into it with their neighbor, a woman named Lisa Chopey. Cops say the feud turned violent. Allen's boyfriend was charged with assault. While maintaining his innocence, he plead guilty. Chopey worked for the Secret Service director, Mark Sullivan.
You might remember Sullivan. He resigned after an agent was caught hanging out with a prostitute in Colombia. Sullivan was replaced by Julia Pierson who, of course, quit Wednesday after her bruising appearance on Capitol Hill.
“This is the house, where Lisa Chopey lived during this time. This is the public road where they didn't want us riding,” Allen told INSIDE EDITION.
Allen also explained that unmarked cars and SUV's with tinted windows started showing up in front of her house.
“People always said that I was paranoid because I always had this feeling someone was watching me. I would look out the door, look out the window. I had this sixth sense that somebody was watching me,” commented Allen.
Even the agents assigned to Operation Moonlight reportedly thought the mission was ridiculous.
Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent, told INSDIE EDITION, “It speaks to the schism, the larger umbrella problem in this Secret Service. There is an absolute chasm right now, a divide between the rank and file agents doing the work, and this small insulated group of managers which again seem to have interests other than protecting the guys on the ground, and this is a clear case.”
Mark Sullivan, the former FBI director, says he did not send the Secret Service to Brenda's home, but a supervisor in his office did. He said he learned of the security checks after they began and that to his knowledge, they were done for just a few days and were “appropriate.”
He says the U.S. Secret service has always taken threats against its employees seriously and responds when appropriate. He says his assistant followed protocol in reporting her safety concerns to a supervisor and that supervisor took action that was consistent with the seriousness of the situation.