Secret Service director Julia Pierson tendered her resignation to Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson Wednesday afternoon, with both he and President Obama accepting her departure following bipartisan criticism on Capitol Hill.
Reeling from a string of reported security breaches — most recently the penetration of the White House by a mentally ill man armed with a knife — Pierson appeared before the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday to explain her agency’s failures.
But lawmakers were dismayed by her three-hour testimony, with representatives from both parties claiming she intentionally misled Congress and was more concerned with preserving her reputation than securing the First Family. Representatives Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) and Elijah Cummings (D., Md.) became the first to call for her resignation, with more joining the chorus throughout the day.
NBC News added that Pierson also faced a “mutiny” internally, with Secret Service agents serving under her expressing a lack of confidence in her leadership.
Pierson served in the Secret Service for 30 years. The first woman to hold the post, she was appointed by President Obama to lead his security detail on March 27, 2013. Her term as director was one of the shortest in American history, matched only by that of John Magaw, who left the post without scandal in 1993 to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
The White House announced that Joseph Clancy, a former special agent in charge of the Presidential Protective Division, is returning from retirement to lead the Secret Service on an interim basis.