Secret Service Director Julia Pierson Resigns After Security Breaches

U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned on Wednesday, after several reports in the last week of embarrassing security lapses within the agency tasked with protecting the president and first family.

“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,” Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said in a statement.

Johnson announced that in the interim, he’s appointing Joseph Clancy as Acting Director.

Clancy, he said, is a “[former] 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.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Wednesday that President Barack Obama “expressed his appreciation for [Pierson’s] service to the agency and to the country.”

Speaking to Bloomberg News about her resignation, Pierson said, “I think it’s in the best interest of the Secret Service and the American public if I step down. Congress has lost confidence in my ability to run the agency. The media has made it clear that this is what they expected.”

Pierson was grilled by lawmakers at a House Oversight Committee hearing on Tuesday for recent reports of security breaches, including a White House fence-jumper who penetrated deep into the mansion, and an incident where a convicted felon with a gun was allowed onto an elevator with the president.

“The president concluded that new leadership of that agency was required,” Earnest said. He added that Clancy was an “an appropriate choice to lead the agency” until a permanent director could be found.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

TPM Staff
Latest Livewire
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: