Julia Pierson resigned as director of the U.S. Secret Service last Wednesday, a day after she had faced intense bipartisan criticism from members of Congress during a hearing regarding recent reports of troubling security lapses by the Secret Service. The hearing lasted nearly four hours.
Most recently, on Sept. 19, a man armed with a knife was able to jump the White House fence, enter through the North Portico doors and reach deep inside the building before he was tackled by an off-duty Secret Service agent. Later reports indicated that the door alarm to alert security of intruders had been muted at the request of White House staff because the alarm often went off unnecessarily and they found the noise bothersome.
This breach in security came only days after the Secret Service unknowingly allowed an armed felon to ride an elevator with President Obama. The man was a security contractor and was fired on the spot after he wouldn’t stop recording video of the president with his phone.
Julia Pierson, the agency’s first female director, was nominated by President Obama in 2013, and she has been replaced in the interim by Joseph Clancy, a former head of the Presidential Protective Division of the Secret Service.