BREAKING: Pierson Resigns As Secret Service Director

Daniel Doherty
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Posted: Oct 01, 2014 3:30 PM
BREAKING: Pierson Resigns As Secret Service Director

One might say we saw this coming.

Moments ago, Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned:

Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned Wednesday, a day after bitingly critical questioning by Congress about a White House security breach. There had been increasing calls for her departure during the day.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said she offered her resignation and he accepted it.

Stay tuned for updates.

UPDATE: “Director Pierson offered her resignation because she believed it was in the best interest of the agency which she had dedicated her career,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said shortly after the news broke. “In light of recent and accumulating reports I think there were legitimate questions [raised] in the minds of the secretary [DHS] and the president.”

UPDATE: The following is Secretary Johnson's full statement about the shake-up at the Secret Service:

Today Julia Pierson, the Director of the United States Secret Service, offered her resignation, and I accepted it. I salute her 30 years of distinguished service to the Secret Service and the Nation.

As an interim Acting Director of the Secret Service, I am appointing Joseph Clancy, formerly Special Agent in Charge of the Presidential Protective Division of the Secret Service. Mr. Clancy retired from the Secret Service in 2011. I appreciate his willingness to leave his position in the private sector on very short notice and return to public service for a period.

Today, I have also asked the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, aided by this Department’s General Counsel, to assume control and direction of the ongoing inquiry by the Secret Service of the fence jumping incident at the White House on September 19. Deputy Secretary Mayorkas should complete that review and submit findings to me by November 1, 2014.

Finally, I have also determined that scrutiny by a distinguished panel of independent experts of the September 19 incident and related issues concerning the Secret Service is warranted. The Panelists will be named shortly. By December 15, 2014, this panel will submit to me its own assessment and recommendations concerning security of the White House compound. I will also invite the panel to submit to me recommendations for potential new directors of the Secret Service, to include recommendations of individuals who come from outside the Secret Service. I will also request that the panel advise me about whether it believes, given the series of recent events, there should be a review of broader issues concerning the Secret Service. The security of the White House compound should be the panel’s primary and immediate priority.

It is worth repeating that the Secret Service is one of the finest official protection services in the world, consisting of men and women who are highly trained and skilled professionals prepared to put their own lives on the line in a second’s notice for the people they protect. Last week, the Secret Service was responsible for the protection of the President as well as 140 visiting heads of state or government as they convened at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. Likewise, in August the Secret Service handled the protection of 60 world leaders as they convened in Washington, D.C. for the African Summit. As usual, the Secret Service executed these highly complex and demanding assignments without incident. There is no other protection service in the world that could have done this.

UPDATE: On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the president "retains full confidence in the men and women of the Secret Service to do their very important work." If so, why did the Secretary Johnson (presumably at the behest of his boss) accept Pierson's resignation today?

Editor's note: This post has been updated.