Obama appoints first female head of Secret Service

Updated
Credit: Department of Homeland Security
Credit: Department of Homeland Security

President Barack Obama has chosen veteran Secret Service agent Julia Pierson as the first woman to become director of the agency that protects the president.

“Julia is eminently qualified to lead the agency that not only safeguards Americans at major events and secures our financial system, but also protects our leaders and our first families, including my own,” said President Obama in a statement released by the White House.

“Julia has had an exemplary career, and I know these experiences will guide her as she takes on this new challenge to lead the impressive men and women of this important agency,” said Obama. Aside from protecting the president, the Secret Service investigates the counterfeiting of U.S. currency, as well “crimes that involve financial institution fraud, computer and telecommunications fraud.”

Pierson is a native of Florida and began her career with the Secret Service out of college, as a special agent with the Miami Field Office in 1983. She has worked for the agency for 29 years. She was previously chief of staff at the Secret Service, which last year became embroiled in a scandal involving agents taking prostitutes to their hotel rooms in Colombia before Obama visited the country.

She will replace Mark Sullivan who retired as Secret Service director in February. The position does not require confirmation by the Senate.

NBC’s Kristen Welker and Reuters contributed to this report.

Obama appoints first female head of Secret Service

Updated