Four months after he was brought back to an agency that was struggling to cope with a series of embarrassing missteps, Joseph Clancy was named the permanent director of the Secret Service Wednesday.
Clancy has been the agency's acting head since the service's director, Julia Pierson, resigned in October. He is the former leader of the Secret Service's Presidential Protective Division.
President Obama's choice of Clancy "is at odds with the recommendations of an outside review panel which suggested Obama tap someone from outside the troubled agency," NPR's Scott Horsley reports.
That independent review panel made its recommendations in December, when it laid out a list of changes that it called a "roadmap for reform."
Mixed reactions in Congress
Two strikingly different responses have arrived from two lawmakers on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
From Chairman Jason Chaffretz:
"It is disappointing the President ignored the recommendation from the independent panel, appointed by Secretary Johnson, to select a director from outside the Secret Service. The Panel made it crystal clear that only a director from outside the agency would meet the needs of the agency today — someone with a fresh perspective, free from allegiances and without ties to what has consistently been described as a 'good old boys network.'"
... and from Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings:
"Joe Clancy has taken strong action over the past several months to begin righting the ship at the Secret Service, he has been extremely responsive to Congress, and his decisive leadership has already resulted in major changes. I look forward to working with him closely over the next year to ensure that the Secret Service gets what it needs to fulfill its critical mission."
The review panel's suggestions touched on many elements, from new staffing and training practices to a higher fence at the White House, which was recently invaded by a rogue drone; last September, a man scaled the fence around the residence and entered the White House while carrying a knife.
Those high-profile security breaches followed several instances of Secret Service agents behaving badly. In one case there were reports of supervisors sending sexually suggestive emails to a subordinate; in another, several agents were recalled from the Netherlands, where they used an advance trip ahead of the president's visit as an excuse to drink so much they reportedly passed out in a hotel hallway.