Biden appoints second woman to head Secret Service

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President Biden announced on Wednesday that he had chosen a new director for the US Secret Service, an agency that has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months and has come under fire. Dramatic lighting during the hearings of the House Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol.

Biden said in a statement that he chose Kim Cheatle, who rose through the ranks for 27 years with the agency and served on its security detail when he was vice president. Cheatle, currently a civil servant at PepsiCo, will become the agency’s second female chief in its 157-year history.

“Jill and I know firsthand Kim’s commitment to her job and to the Secret Service personnel and mission,” Biden said. As she served her detail, Biden said, “We’ve come to trust her judgment and her advice.”

Cheatle became the first woman to serve as the agency’s Deputy Director of Protective Operations, one of the Secret Service’s most senior positions.

“She is a distinguished law enforcement professional with exceptional leadership skills, and was by far the best choice to lead the agency at a critical time for the Secret Service,” Biden said. “She has my full confidence and I look forward to working with her.”

The announcement came several weeks after Secret Service Director James Murray announced that he was resigning to take a position as chief security officer for California-based Snap Inc., owner of the social media site Snapchat.

This decision also came after high-profile incidents, often unwelcome for the agencywhich is responsible for protecting senior US officials, including former presidents, as well as visiting foreign dignitaries.

Two Secret Service employees who had been sent to South Korea for Biden’s trip there in May were involved in acts that ended in a confrontation with South Korean citizens. The incident happened while the officers were off duty, but they returned to the United States and were placed on administrative leave.

A month earlier, agency officials admitted that four Secret Service employees — including an agent tasked with protecting first lady Jill Biden — were allegedly deceived by two men posing as federal agents who gave them gifts.

In recent weeks, Secret Service agents have been the subject of dramatic testimony before the House January 6 Committee.

Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that she was told that President Donald Trump lashed out at his protective detail when officers failed to take him to join his supporters marching to the Capitol, at one point rushing behind the wheel of the presidential vehicle.

January 6 showed two faces of the Secret Service

Officials said on condition of anonymity that Secret Service agents disputed certain details of Hutchinson’s account – and are prepared to do so under oath – although they do not dispute the idea that Trump was angry and wanted to be taken to the Capitol. .

When Murray announced his departure last month, White House officials said it was unrelated to congressional hearings.

The only other woman to lead the Secret Service was Julia Pierson in 2013-2014, who resigned after security breaches eroded President Barack Obama’s trust in her.

Cheatle has held a number of positions with the agency, including his work in the Vice Presidential Protection Division, and in 2021 Biden presented him with a Presidential Rank Award. She is currently a Senior Manager at PepsiCo North America, overseeing facilities, personnel and business continuity.

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