- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 25, 2017

For the first time in the Secret Service’s history, President Trump went outside the agency Tuesday to name a new director, retired Marine Major Gen. Randolph “Tex” Alles.

Mr. Alles, currently acting deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, served 35 years in the Marines before retiring in 2011. He will replace Joseph Clancy, who retired from a long career at the agency in March.

The Secret Service has been under scrutiny for a series of security breaches, including a 26-year-old man with cans of mace in a backpack who scaled three fences around the White House on March 10 and spent 16 minutes lurking on the presidential grounds while Mr. Trump was in the residence.

Earlier this month, a Secret Service agent who was part of Vice President Mike Pence’s security detail was placed on administrative leave after being arrested for allegedly soliciting a prostitute in Maryland.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz praised Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly for selecting a candidate from outside the Secret Service to lead the agency. He noted that a report recommended the step in 2015 after a review of security failures during President Barack Obama’s tenure.

“While I commend this important step forward, there are still many systemic problems that continue to plague the agency, including a staffing crisis and increasingly demanding investigative mission,” said Mr. Chaffetz, Utah Republican. “Appointing a director from the outside adds a necessary new perspective and fresh approach to their zero-fail mission.”

Mr. Alles oversaw about 60,000 employees as the head of Customs and Border Protection, an agency whose tasks include securing the nation’s borders and screening visitors and cargo entering the U.S. He also has led the CBP’s Air and Marine operations.

The House Oversight Committee’s report in 2015 found that the Secret Service was “in crisis” from hiring freezes and attrition, with overworked personnel and low morale. It said many agency personnel were “desperate for new outside leadership willing to undertake dramatic reforms at the agency.”

Those reforms, the committee said, should include a reconsideration of the agency’s responsibilities, which had “dramatically expanded in recent decades.”

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