Obama to name Julia Pierson first female Secret Service head


US Secret Service agents guard vehicles in the motorcade of former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Oct. 5, 2012 in Weyers Cave, Virginia.


Justin Sullivan

President Barack Obama is expected to appoint Julia Pierson as the first female director of the Secret Service, White House officials said today.

Pierson, 53, is a veteran Secret Service agent and currently serves as the agency's chief of staff, according to the Washington Post.

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She will take over the job from Mark Sullivan, who announced his retirement last month.

The appointment signals a desire by Obama to change the culture at the male-dominated agency following last year's prostitution scandal, The Associated Press reported.

Pierson does not need to be confirmed by the Senate.

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Obama is expected to announce her appointment this afternoon, the AP reported.

Sullivan issued a statement on the appointment, saying: “I have known and worked with Julie for close to thirty years. She was an excellent Assistant Director and Chief of Staff, demonstrating sound judgment, leadership, character, and commitment to our Country, the men and women of the US Secret Service and those we serve and protect. This is a historic and exciting time for the Secret Service and I know Julie will do an outstanding job.”

Created by President Abraham Lincoln in 1865, the Secret Service is charged with protecting the nation's political leaders, including the president, investigating fraud and counterfeiting and other duties.