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Obama names Joseph Clancy Secret Service director

By Danielle Haynes

WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama appointed Joseph P. Clancy to lead the Secret Service after he headed the agency on an interim basis for the last four months.

Obama picked Clancy to permanently replace former Director Julia Pierson on Wednesday against the wishes of a Department of Homeland Security panel that suggested a leader from outside the agency.

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Pierson stepped down from the Secret Service in October after just 18 months on the job. She faced scathing criticism from members of Congress who made it clear they had lost confidence in her ability to lead the protective service.

The Secret Service came under fire in 2014 after a man with a knife jumped the White House fence and made his way to the North Portico of the building before he was stopped.

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A report released in November by the Department of Homeland Security found the man was able to make it as far as he did due to a lack of training within the Secret Service and poor communication.

The agency has also been criticized for a 2011 shooting at the White House.

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Obama named Clancy the interim director of the Secret Service in October, but the Department of Homeland Security panel suggested he permanently appoint former deputy director of the FBI Sean Joyce to the post.

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U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, the chairman on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform criticized Obama's choice Wednesday.

"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,' " Chaffetz said. "The good men and women of the Secret Service are screaming for a fresh start. At this moment in time, the Secret Service would best be served by a transformative and dynamic leader from outside the agency."

Not everyone on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform -- which oversees the Secret Service -- thought it was a bad appointment.

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"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," U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said.

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