- Associated Press - Friday, February 13, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) - The former No. 2 agent at the Secret Service is moving to Immigration and Customs Enforcement as a “senior adviser” for cybercrime after being forced out of the agency charged with protecting the president, according to an internal email obtained by The Associated Press.

Alvin “A.T.” Smith resigned under pressure earlier this week. In a three-paragraph statement the Secret Service said Smith had accepted a new position within in the Homeland Security Department. Both agencies are part of DHS.

ICE Director Sarah Saldana announced Smith’s appointment to her staff Friday. She said Smith would contribute to “ICE’s fight against transnational cyber criminals.”

DHS initially refused to disclose what Smith would do at ICE, saying only that he was transferring to that agency’s Homeland Security Investigations unit.

Smith was among the last senior Secret Service officials left unscathed after a shake-up that started with the forced resignation of then-Director Julia Pierson in October. Four other senior leaders, including the man in charge of protection operations, were ousted last month. Three of those officials have since announced plans to retire and a fourth has transferred to Customs and Border Protection, also a DHS agency.

Amid the upheaval at the Secret Service lawmakers, including House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, criticized Smith, saying he was at the center of bad decisions made in a series of Secret Service scandals.

Smith, a senior-level executive who eared as much as $183,000 at the Secret Service, spent 29 years with the agency and is nearing retirement. Federal law enforcement officers are forced off the job at 57.

Because of his high rank, Smith could have been fired for misconduct or poor performance. Unlike lower-level government employees, very few rules protect a high-level job, said Carol Bonosaro of the nonprofit Senior Executives Association, a professional group that advocates for top-level government workers.

Secret Service Acting Director Joseph Clancy could have transferred Smith within the agency, but Clancy wouldn’t have authority to transfer him to another agency within the Homeland Security Department, Bonosaro said. But Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson does have the authority to transfer Smith to another DHS agency, she added.

Johnson last year pledged that “ethics in government, setting the example and remaining above reproach are essential elements of good leadership.”

Johnson has not commented on Smith’s transfer.


Follow Alicia A. Caldwell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/acaldwellap

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