Julia Pierson, the first woman to head the U.S. Secret Service in the agency's 148-year history, resigns after facing scathing criticism from Congress for security lapses at the White House. Mana Rabiee reports.
She was chosen to head the U.S. Secret Service and to clean up the agency's culture. But on Wednesday, Julia Pierson, the first woman to head the Secret Service in the agency's 148-year history, turned in her resignation. She had come under fire for a series of startling security breaches at the White House. Her resignation comes one day after Pierson faced scathing criticism from lawmakers at a hearing on Capitol Hill. White House spokesman Josh Earnest says President Barack Obama decided new leadership was needed at the agency after a number of security lapses. They included that White House fence jumper who gained access deep into the executive mansion last month. SOUNDBITE: WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN JOSH EARNEST SAYING: "This afternoon the President had the opportunity to telephone Director Pierson to express his appreciation for her service to the agency and to the country. She dedicated more than 30 years of her life to the United States Secret Service and to the important work that they do over there." Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced the resignation and said Joseph Clancy, an agency veteran, has been named acting director. The agency charged with protecting the American president is conducting an internal probe into the security breaches. Fifty-five year-old Pierson is a 30-year Secret Service veteran. She was appointed to run the agency that protects the American President in March 2013.