Tags: Barack Obama | secret service | breaches | security | white house | president | Joe Clancy

The Hill: Secret Service Shake-up Took Obama by Surprise

By    |   Friday, 16 Jan 2015 11:52 AM

President Barack Obama was not aware that four top Secret Service directors were being removed from their posts and reassigned in response to a series of security breaches, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday, but he is supportive of reform efforts for the agency.

"The White House was certainly well-aware of the efforts that the director was undertaking to implement some management leadership reforms at the agency," Earnest said, reports The Hill. "The reforms that he announced are consistent with the findings of the independent blue-ribbon panel that took a look at the [Department of Homeland Security] review of the Secret Service."

The Secret Service earlier this week announced that it will remove Dale Pupillo, who heads protective services; Paul Morrissey, an investigations supervisor; Mark Copanzzi, who is in charge of the agency's technology; and public affairs chief Jane Murphy from their posts and reassigning them to other posts within Homeland Security. A fifth official has chosen to retire.

According to a DHS review, the Secret Service is "starved for leadership" and undermanned, and several security improvements have been proposed for the White House compound.

"Change is necessary to gain a fresh perspective on how we conduct business. I am certain any of our senior executives will be productive and valued assets either in other positions at the Secret Service or the department," said Secret Service Director Joe Clancy.

The Secret Service has been under heavy scrutiny following security failures that included a knife-carrying man being able to scale the northern fence at the White House and running through an unlocked door and onto the structure's main floor last September.

It was emphasized that the four officials who have been reassigned are not being fired, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Former CIA Director Julia Pierson resigned shortly after the September breach, and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson asked for a probe of the Secret Service.

Clancy, who headed Obama's security detail during his first term, has come out of retirement to take over the CIA director's seat on an interim basis.

The directors' replacements have not been named, and Clancy may opt to find the new officials outside the agency, reports U.S. News and World Report.

But the reassignments are signaling large changes are underway for the Secret Service, said Jeff Engel, director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University.

"If you go through an organization, find flaws and identify the culprit, then you deal with the culprit,” Engel, an expert on the Secret Service, told the publication. "When you take out the heads of four major components of the agency, you’re throwing out everything. You’re throwing out the baby and the bathwater."

The drastic move means "the cancer has metastasized," Engel said. "There’s something they’ve identified which is bred throughout the [Secret Service] that requires not only a shock to one area but to the entire organization."

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President Barack Obama was not aware that four top Secret Service directors were being removed from their posts and reassigned in response to a series of security breaches, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday.
secret service, breaches, security, white house, president, Joe Clancy
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2015-52-16
Friday, 16 Jan 2015 11:52 AM
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