Obama confident in Secret Service chief despite damaging report

Obama confident in Secret Service chief despite damaging report
© Greg Nash

President Obama “absolutely” retains confidence in Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy despite a new report claiming the agency faces a crisis over security lapses and staffing shortages, the White House said Thursday.

“The president has strong confidence in his ability to lead that important organization,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said of Clancy. 

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Even though the Secret Service has faced “some significant challenges” in the past few years, Earnest praised Clancy for implementing reforms to begin changing the agency’s culture. 

“[He] has worked hard to implement a series of reforms that has strengthened that organization and enhanced confidence in it,” the spokesman said. “There is more work to be done, and I think the U.S. Secret Service acknowledged that in the statement they put out.” 

The findings of a bipartisan congressional investigation paint a grim picture of the agency tasked with protecting the president’s life.

The report found six previously undisclosed security breaches since 2013. In one instance, a man posing as a member of Congress spoke with President Obama last fall without getting properly screened first.

Five days later, a woman walked unexamined into a gala dinner also attended by the commander in chief.

The report also found that two people entered the first layer of the White House grounds last year while brushing past Secret Service agents. It described the agency's “staffing crisis” as  “perhaps the greatest threat” to its success.