U.S. Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles will be stepping down from his post, the latest in a string of departures from President Donald Trump’s administration.
Alles “has done a great job at the agency over the last two years, and the President is thankful for his over 40 years of service to the country,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “Mr. Alles will be leaving shortly and President Trump has selected James M. Murray, a career member of the USSS, to take over as director beginning in May.”
The departure of the Secret Service chief comes amid a broader shake-up in the Department of Homeland Security. On Sunday, Trump announced that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen would be stepping down. Last week, Trump said he was rescinding his nomination of Ronald Vitiello to be director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, saying he wanted to go in a “tougher” direction. Both Alles and Vitiello reported to Nielsen.
Security protocols around Trump have come under scrutiny in recent days after an apparent security breach at the president’s Florida resort.
Secret Service agents arrested a Chinese woman after she gained access to the reception area of the Mar-a-Lago Club last month, saying they found she was carrying two passports and a thumb drive containing malicious software, according to court documents. Prosecutors say the woman, Yujing Zhang, first approached a Mar-a-Lago security checkpoint March 30 and told security officials she was there to go to the swimming pool.
Management at Trump’s Palm Beach property, where individuals pay a fee to obtain memberships that can provide proximity to the president, allowed the woman to bypass security, prosecutors said. Zhang was ultimately stopped after a receptionist questioned her.
Trump said the incident was a “fluke,” and claimed that security at his Mar-a-Lago resort was sufficient.
“I could not be happier with Secret Service,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday. “Secret Service has done a fantastic job from day one. Very happy with them.”
The Secret Service issued a statement after the woman was caught, appearing to lay blame for the security breach on management at Trump’s club.
“The Secret Service does not determine who is invited or welcome at Mar-a-Lago; this is the responsibility of the host entity,” the agency said.
CNN first reported that Alles was being ousted from the administration.
Trump selected Alles, a retired Marine Corps general and former acting deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, in 2017. He was the first Secret Service director in at least 100 years not from the agency’s ranks.
(c) 2019, The Washington Post · Toluse Olorunnipa