Secret Service Director Joseph P. Clancy is a career Secret Service agent and former presidential-detail leader who had left the agency for the private sector but was called by then-President Barack Obama in 2014 to come back to work as director amid a string of security breaches and employee misconduct. Now, after just three weeks on the job under President Donald Trump, Clancy announced Tuesday that he will step down as of March 4.
The Washington Post reports that Clancy “was given the assignment of shoring up the agency in a period of crisis,” and that he guided the agency as it struggled with a heavy workload and the lowest number of employees in a decade. Under his watch, the Secret Service tackled the 2016 presidential election campaign—during which fistfights actually happened at some particularly rowdy rallies—without major incident.
Even as Clancy leaves behind a workforce that still complains of burnout, low morale and a lack of experienced, visionary managers, former Secret Service Director Ralph Basham told the Post that Clancy will be remembered as a reassuring presence “who has done right by the service.”
“Due to his calm and professional manner and approach to problem-solving, he’s just done a tremendous job for the department,” Basham said. “Not to say they don’t have issues remaining, but I think he’s put the organization on a good path to getting better.”
Clancy joined the Secret Service in 1984 and rose to become the leader of Obama’s detail in 2009 before retiring in 2011, when he returned to Philadelphia and took a job as security director for Comcast.
In October 2014, on the same day that Director Julia Pierson resigned, Clancy agreed in a phone call with the president to be interim director of the agency.
In a statement Tuesday, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said that Clancy’s departure provides a critical opportunity to put an outsider in charge of the agency.
“A fresh set of eyes and new perspective is needed to restore the prestige and status expected of such an elite agency,” Chaffetz said.
Those being discussed as possible replacements for Clancy include George Mulligan, the agency’s current chief operating officer; Mickey Nelson, a former assistant director; and new Deputy Director William Callahan.
Clancy was praised for his sacrifice in returning to the agency by Christian Marrone, the chief of staff to the secretary of homeland secretary. (The Secret Service is part of the Department of Homeland Security.)
“Without hesitation, Joe Clancy stepped forward to serve his country and help the service when it needed it the most,” Marrone said. “In my strong view, Joe is a hero and a role model to all of us that aspire to serve.”
Read more at the Washington Post.