Secret Service director resigns over security lapses
by Leigh Jones
Posted 10/01/14, 04:55 pm
Following a spate of embarrassing security lapses, Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned today at the prompting of President Barack Obama.
The president, whom Pierson’s agency is tasked with protecting, “concluded new leadership of that agency was required,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
Pierson faced tough questions during a three-hour congressional hearing yesterday but deflected calls for her resignation. Today’s revelation of yet another problem with the agents assigned to the president might have been the last straw.
During a recent visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, agents failed to prevent a man with a gun from sharing an elevator with Obama. White House officials found out about the incident when two newspapers reported it today. Several weeks earlier, they failed to stop a man with a knife from climbing over the White House fence, busting through the front door, and making it all the way to the East Room.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who announced Pierson’s resignation, said Joe Clancy, retired head of the agency's Presidential Protective Division, would come back to lead the Secret Service until a new director is appointed.
Johnson also announced an independent inquiry into the agency, something lawmakers on both sides of the aisle called for after yesterday’s hearing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Leigh lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She is the news editor for The World and Everything in It and reports on education for WORLD Digital.