Politics

Secret Service Director Julia Pierson Resigns

Patrick Howley Political Reporter

Secret Service director Julia Pierson resigned Wednesday, a day after getting grilled for security lapses at a contentious House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing.

Pierson turned in a weak performance at the hearing, where lawmakers from both parties held her accountable for Omar Gonzalez’s successful attempt to jump the White House fence and enter the president’s residence.

“The door was unlocked at the time of Mr. Gonzalez’s entry, that is correct,” Pierson admitted to oversight chairman Rep. Darrell Issa. “The front door actually consists of two doors. The outer door, the storm door, was not locked. The inner door, the wood door, was in the process of being hand-locked.”

Former Secret Service director W. Ralph Basham said in written testimony that the Secret Service knew for years that the White House fence was insecure, and performed secret studies on it. (RELATED: Secret Service Was Concerned For Years That White House Fence Was Not Secure)

Pierson was appointed by President Barack Obama as the agency’s first female director in March 2013. Obama accepted her resignation Wednesday.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Obama felt that “legitimate questions were raised” in the Oversight hearing following press reports about the Secret Service’s performance. Retired Secret Service agent Joseph Clancy has been appointed acting director of the agency.

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