WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- The official responsible for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's relationships with foreign countries has unexpectedly quit.
Marissa Lino, the assistant secretary for international affairs at the department, resigned suddenly earlier this week without giving notice, a former department official told United Press International.
DHS spokeswoman Laura Keehner confirmed Lino's departure to UPI.
"She resigned for personal reasons," said Keehner, adding the department was "grateful for her service," which had "transformed our international affairs office."
She said Lino, a career official and State Department veteran, had "energized the way we deal with other countries," enabling officials to "take a more proactive approach through our global engagement strategy rather than just responding to the needs of our foreign partners."
The international affairs office, part of the department's policy directorate, is responsible for overseeing the complex bilateral negotiations the department undertakes with foreign governments over matters like aviation security and the U.S. visa waiver program.
Lino was appointed July last year to replace Cresencio Arcos, who had left for the private sector in October 2006.
Shaun Waterman, UPI Homeland and National Security Editor