The new leader of the Secret Service says the agency wants to earn back Americans’ trust.
In his first television interview since becoming acting director, Joseph Clancy told "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams that scandals and security lapses, including a breach of the White House by a knife-wielding intruder, have shaken 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."
Director Julia Pierson resigned under pressure Oct. 1 after Congress expressed outrage over the embarrassments.
Clancy said when he returned, he was shocked by what he found.
"Initially you're thinking, 'How did this happen?' And then I immediately started thinking about the men and women of the Secret Service 'cause I've been there. I know what pain they feel when there's a failure," he said.
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.
Now that he's back at the Secret Service, his top priorities include making sure there's zero tolerance for misconduct and boosting morale.
"The second day back on the job here, the first thing we did, we had a meeting with all the agents and all the officers at the White House complex together," he said. "It was one team and we continue to stress that this is one team. We are in this thing together."
On Monday, a panel commissioned by Congress will release a report on Secret Service operations, including suggestions for a permanent director.
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