Members of an elite Secret Service special unit responsible for keeping the president safe, patrolling the White House grounds, were pulled off that assignment over at least two months in 2011 to protect the assistant of the agency’s director while she was engaged in a dispute with a neighbor, reports in The Washington Post.
Agents bailed their post to attending to a matter concerning Secret Service director, Mark Sullivan, who was convinced that his assistant was being harassed by her neighbor.
The agents were pulled from a surveillance team that patrols the outskirts of the White House compound and monitors the southern side of the executive mansion whenever crowds gather to watch the president and first family travel via motorcade or helicopter, the Post reported.
Agents inside the Washington field office were concerned that the diversion of agents increased security risks to the compound and the president, two people familiar with the discussion told the newspaper. A spokesman for the agency told the Post that the agents involved were not part of the president’s protective detail and therefore the operation had no impact on it. source
Sullivan left the Secret Service in 2013 nearly a year after a scandal involving members of the presidential protection team hiring prostitutes ahead of a trip by President Barack Obama to Colombia in 2012. In a statement to the Post, Sullivan said a supervisor in his office authorized the visits to the assistant’s home without his knowledge, that they lasted only a few days and that they were appropriate given the report of threats to an employee.