Washington: The US secret service director Julia Pierson resigned on Wednesday over a recent White House security breach.
According to a statement released Wednesday afternoon by the US Department of Homeland Security, Pierson has offered her resignation, and DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson has accepted it. "I salute her 30 years of distinguished service to the secret service and the nation," Xinhua quoted Johnson as saying in a statement.
Pierson's resignation came on the heels of a disastrous House hearing where lawmakers in both parties criticised Pierson as focused more on protecting her agency's reputation than the president.
Johnson said he would be appointing Joseph Clancy, who served in the Presidential Protective Division until 2011, as the acting director of the agency.
He also asked Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas to oversee the ongoing inquiry by the secret service of last month's fence jumping incident by a man over the White House security gate and submit findings to him by Nov 1.
White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said at a press conference that Pierson resigned because "she believed it was in the best interest of the agency".
Earnest said that Obama called Pierson to express his appreciation for her service and to the country, after she offered her resignation to Johnson.
According to the spokesperson, Obama has "nothing but the highest regard" for the men and women of the secret service. But based on the recent reports detailing the breeches of security, Obama felt as though a "new direction was necessary."