WASHINGTON — President Obama appointed veteran U.S. Secret Service official Julia Pierson as the first female director in the agency’s 148-year history Tuesday, nearly a year after a prostitution scandal tarred the reputation of one of the nation’s top law enforcement institutions.
Pierson, 53, who began her career as an agent in Miami three decades ago, has served as chief of staff to the outgoing director, Mark Sullivan, for the past five years. Peers described her as a skilled and dedicated manager who has helped oversee a $250 million project to modernize the institution’s communications and data-management networks.
“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,” Obama said in a statement.
The appointment does not require Senate confirmation.
Obama’s selection of Pierson comes after an extraordinarily difficult year at the service, which was enveloped by a prostitution scandal exposing its male-dominated culture.
Read more in Wednesday’s Arizona Daily Star and at azstarnet.com