Secret Service chief resigns amid security lapses

Secret Service Director Julia Pierson has resigned amid security lapses at the White House.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Wednesday that Pierson offered her resignation, and he accepted it.

Johnson appointed Joseph Clancy, who formerly was the Special Agent in Charge of the Secret Service’s Presidential Protective Division, as the interim acting director of the Secret Service, according to a DHS release. Clancy retired from the service in 2011.

Johnson also asked DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas — with help from the department’s general counsel — to lead the ongoing investigation into the Sept. 19 fence jumping at the White House. Mayorkas is expected to submit his findings to Johnson by Nov. 1, according to the release.

“I have also determined that scrutiny by a distinguished panel of independent experts of the September 19 incident and related issues concerning the Secret Service is warranted,” Johnson said, in the release. “The Panelists will be named shortly. By December 15, 2014, this panel will submit to me its own assessment and recommendations concerning security of the White House compound.”

Johnson added that he would ask the panel to suggest potential new directors of the Secret Service, including candidates from outside of the service.

“I will also request that the panel advise me about whether it believes, given the series of recent events, there should be a review of broader issues concerning the Secret Service,” he said. “The security of the White House compound should be the panel’s primary and immediate priority.”

Pierson’s resignation came a day after she appeared before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in a congressional hearing focused on recent security lapses at the White House.

“Problems at the Secret Service pre-date Ms. Pierson’s tenure as director, and her resignation certainly does not resolve them,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R- Calif.), the committee’s chairman, said in a release. “Yesterday, the Committee called for an outside review by independent experts. Today, Homeland Security Jeh Johnson today agreed that such a review is critical. The Oversight Committee will continue to examine clear and serious agency failures at the Secret Service that have been exposed. While serious questions surround the Secret Service, Director Pierson served her country with honor and has my gratitude for her efforts.”

Pierson had worked at the Secret Service for 30 years.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.