Tags: Barack Obama | Homeland Security | Barack Obama | Secret Service | Joseph Clancy | Julia Pierson | interim

Interim Secret Service Chief a Familiar Face to Obama

Image: Interim Secret Service Chief a Familiar Face to Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama, left, and U.S. Secret Service Agent Joseph Clancy. (Larry Downing/Reuters/ Landov)

By    |   Friday, 03 Oct 2014 10:16 AM

President Barack Obama has brought back a familiar face to head the Secret Service: His former protective detail chief Joseph Clancy, who retired in 2011 after serving under Obama for two years.

Just hours after ex-Secret Service Director Julia Pierson stepped down Tuesday, the White House announced Clancy, 58, will return to Washington to serve as acting director until a full-time replacement is named, reports The Washington Post.

Obama and his wife, Michelle, told White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough that the administration should reach out to Clancy, who was working in his hometown, Philadelphia, as head of security for Comcast.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson called Clancy to take over, and he will be in Washington early next week to be briefed on the security failures leading to Pierson's resignation.

Deputy White House Press Secretary Shawn Turner told the Post that the Obamas "know and trust Mr. Clancy from his time working here at the White House and being the head of their detail. They believe he has the right temperament to lead the Secret Service."

Clancy also served in the protective details for Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton during his 25-year career. He served as head of security at the White House, during the Bush era, which will be valuable experience following the Secret Service's failure to stop an armed intruder from jumping the White House fence and running through its unlocked front door.

Clancy also offers the Obama's a level of trust, said his former associates.

"The president, like all of us, felt things were under control when Joe was there," said David Axelrod, Obama’s former senior adviser.

"Joe was always calm, always in command," Axelrod said. "The president developed a great deal of trust in him. More than anything, he had the sense that whatever judgment needed to be made, he would make the right ones."

Other presidents have promoted former detail chiefs to lead the Secret Service, including Ralph Basham, who led the Secret Service from 2003 to 2006 under Bush and had been the detail leader for President George H.W. Bush. Clinton's former detail chief, Lew Merletti, was also promoted to the top job in 1997.

Associates say Clancy is a dedicated, no-nonsense agent whose nickname is "Father Joe." Some say the nickname came from a rumor that he'd considered being a priest before joining the Secret Service, but others say it describes his integrity and character.

Some Secret Service agents told the Post, anonymously, that Clancy is a well-respected veteran, but are concerned that he may not be able to push through reforms the agency needs.

However, Steve Atkiss, who served as George W. Bush’s special assistant for operations, Clancy will likely have suggestions for additional security measures that could garner congressional and administration support.

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President Barack Obama has brought back a familiar face to head the Secret Service:His former protective detail chief Joseph Clancy, who retired in 2011 after serving under Obama for two years.
Barack Obama, Secret Service, Joseph Clancy, Julia Pierson, interim
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2014-16-03
Friday, 03 Oct 2014 10:16 AM
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