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Obama Names Joseph Clancy New Head of Secret Service

The previous director stepped down amid a series of scandals and embarrassing security lapses.
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President Barack Obama on Wednesday named Joseph Clancy, a veteran of the Secret Service and the former head of the presidential detail, as director of the scandal-scarred agency.

Clancy had served as interim director since October, when the former head was forced out after a series of embarrassing security lapses, including a breach of the White House by a knife-wielding intruder.

Clancy joined the Secret Service in 1984. He was appointed special agent in charge of the presidential protective division in 2009. He left the agency in 2011 and became director of corporate security at Comcast Corp., which owns NBCUniversal.

An independent review of the Secret Service concluded in December that the agency needed a “culture change” and outside leadership.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, the Republican head of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, praised Clancy’s interim leadership but said in a statement that he was disappointed that Obama chose an insider.

"The good men and women of the Secret Service are screaming for a fresh start,” he said. “At this moment in time, the Secret Service would best be served by a transformative and dynamic leader from outside the agency."

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the same committee, said that Clancy had begun "righting the ship."

In an apparent effort to counter critics, the White House sent reporters a list of Clancy’s accomplishments since he took over the agency last fall. They included a full agency review, additional training for officers and personnel changes. The Secret Service dismissed four top officials from their posts in January.

Clancy told “NBC Nightly News” in December that the embarrassments had shaken public confidence in the agency.

"We know we’ve lost that trust," he said. "But we’ve got a good model. We’ve got a good foundation. Give us some time to earn that trust back and prove ourselves."

— Kristen Welker