First woman in history named as Obama’s head of Secret Service

By Anne Walters and Marco Mierke

Washington (dpa) – US President Barack Obama named Tuesday the first woman to head the Secret Service in its 148-year history.

Julia Pierson, 53, will lead the service that is tasked with protecting the president and other dignitaries as well as fighting counterfeit currency.

Pierson has served more than 30 years at the agency and now works as chief of staff in the office of the director.

“Julia is eminently qualified to lead the agency that not only safeguards Americans at major events and secures our financial system, but also protects our leaders and our first families, including my own,” Obama said.

The agency has 150 offices and more than 4,000 employees, around a third of who belong to the uniformed officers.

Last year, the Secret Service was shaken by a sex scandal that saw accusations of misconduct by agents in Colombia ahead the Summit of the Americas.