President Obama has chosen 30-year veteran Julia Pierson to head the Secret Service. Pierson will become the first woman to hold that position and she takes the reins as the agency recovers from scandal.
"Pierson, 53, began her career in the Secret Service as an agent in Miami three decades ago. She serves as the service's chief of staff.
"She does not need Senate confirmation for the post, which White House officials said would be announced Tuesday afternoon.
"Obama selected Pierson, in part, to bring a culture change to an agency whose masculine culture was exposed during an overseas trip last year."
As we've reported, three agents left the service after they were accused of "cavorting with prostitutes during a trip to Cartagena as part of the 'advance' team working on President Obama's trip to Colombia."
Politico says that in a statement the current head of the agency, Mark Sullivan, praised his successor saying she's shown "sound judgment, leadership, character, and commitment to our country, the men and women of the U.S. Secret Service and those we serve and protect."
Update at 3:44 p.m. 'Eminently Qualified':
In announcing his intent to appoint Pierson, President Obama said:
"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. 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."
The White House said Pierson joined the service in 1983. Before that, she had been a police officer in the Orlando Police Department for three years.
Currently she serves as chief of staff in the Office of the Director of the United States Secret Service.