The Department of Homeland Security named Joe Clancy, director of corporate security for Comcast Corp., as interim director of the Secret Service after Julia Pierson resigned Wednesday following recent security breaches, the Washington Post reported. Clancy served as the head of the agency’s presidential protection division until 2011, when he retired from the public sector.
"I'm very pleased," Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the House Government Oversight Committee, told NBC News. "He is a person the president has utmost confidence in -- he will take a bullet for him."
"I knew Joe Clancy when he led the presidential detail," David Axelrod, one of Barack Obama's longest-serving advisers, wrote on Twitter. "You could not find a better person to repair the Secret Service."
Not much is known about Clancy’s Secret Service career, but he was photographed countless times with the first family during the first two years of the Obama administration.
"I appreciate his willingness to leave his position in the private sector on very short notice and return to public service for a period,'' Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told USA Today of Clancy.
Former Secret Service Director John Magaw said Clancy is a career agent who is “versatile” and “perfect” for the job. "Today, the rain stopped,'' Magaw told USA Today, in reference to the bad news the agency faced the past two weeks. "It's still cloudy, hot and humid. But this is a good move.''
When Clancy was at Comcast, he was in charge of protecting employees and assets, corporate investigations and assisting with policy development, his biography on the company website states. “During more than three years at Comcast, he was an integral part of our security team and we are sad to see him leave,” the cable company said in a statement, quoted by the Post. “We are highly confident he will be an outstanding interim leader for the Secret Service and we wish him the very best.”
Pierson resigned after a series of security breaches, most notoriously when a man jumped a White House fence on Sept. 19 and walked far into the Executive Mansion while carrying a knife. Omar Gonzalez pleaded not guilty to three charges -- a federal charge of bringing a deadly weapon into a restricted building, carrying a dangerous weapon outside a home or business and unlawful possession of ammunition, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
Pierson began with the Secret Service in 1984 and became the director in March 2013. She was criticized in 2011 when someone fired shots that hit the White House. After the fence-jumping incident was disclosed recently, yet another security lapse came to light: On a recent trip to Atlanta, agents allowed an armed ex-convict to ride in an elevator with the president.
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