President Obama delivered a thumbs-up to a Secret Service that has lately been much maligned, praising the agency’s performance over a whirlwind week of protecting the president, the Pope and a host of foreign dignitaries.
Returning from a trip to the United Nations, Obama delivered rare remarks to the assembled press on the White House lawn, noting that “when something goes wrong, when there’s a fence jumper, everybody reports on it.”
This time, he said, the agency had excelled, managing Pope Francis’s visit, Chinese President Xi’s visit, and a 100 plus world leaders over the last week.
“They did so flawlessly,” he said, singling out Joe Clancy, the head of the Secret Service whom he lured back from retirement to run the agency. “The entire team and detail and professional services, they all deserve a huge round of applause for being such great hosts and keeping everybody safe.”
And he added, “I just wanted to make sure everybody heard that."
Clancy, a former special agent in charge of the Presidential Protective Division of the Secret Service who retired in 2011, came aboard a year ago after the resignation of Julia Pierson, who resigned Wednesday amid mounting congressional criticism and revelations of agency lapses.
Pierson, the first woman to head the elite agency that provides protection to presidents, former presidents and would-be presidents, offered her resignation less than two weeks after a man armed with a knife scrambled over a White House fence and made it inside the executive mansion.