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Operation Moonlight: U.S. Secret Service used as goon squad against civilian

A news story published Saturday on the Internet claims that members of the U.S. Secret Service Uniformed Division who provide security services throughout the White House grounds were assigned in 2011 take action in a dispute between the assistant of the agency's director and her neighbor.

The Uniformed Division of the Secret Service provide protection services of the White House and surrounding property.
Photo courtesy of US Secret Service Media Gallery

The Uniformed Division officers, some of whom are involved in SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) units, were informed that Director of Secret Service Mark Sullivan wanted his assistant protected from her neighbor who she claimed was harassing her.

According to news sources, the officers were taken off their regular assignment as part of the White House surveillance team that patrols the streets outside of the White House compound and were ordered to provide protection for a government employee whose pay-grade and position do not merit Secret Service protection.

Mark Sullivan resigned from the Secret Service last year following a growing scandal surrounding President Barack Obama's protection team and their involvement with prostitutes in Colombia in 2012.

The protection for Sullivan's minion even had a code name -- "Operation Moonlight" -- and the protection had two agents visit Sullivan's assistant's home twice a day, according to news reports.

"The entire operation sounds to me like bullying by a powerful government organization. How many of us can use the Secret Service as our own personal goon squad to scare a neighbor. If the neighbor was indeed suspected of harassing her as described in the penal code then she should have called the local police," said Paul Huffman, a former patrol supervisor for a county sheriff.

News reports revealed that two of the officers who were part of Operation Moonlight believed at the time that they were involved in a questionable operation at best, an illegal assignment at worst and they kept their own unofficial records of the operation in order to protect themselves from liability.

Some of the members of the "special protection detail" actually went as far as informing the Homeland Security Department's inspector general about protecting Sullivan's underling, since the Secret Service is part of DHS as well as the Treasury Department.

"This is another example of the federal government abusing its law enforcement authority. The U.S. Secret Service has a jurisdictional function which doesn't include being involved in personal disagreements," said former NYPD Officer Iris Aquino.

As of yet, the DHS inspector general has not disclosed the status of any investigation regarding Operation Moonlight.

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