US Secret Service chief to retire

The head of the Secret Service -- the police agency that protects US President Barack Obama -- is retiring, a spokesman said Friday, less than a year after the elite squad was hit by a sex scandal.

Mark Sullivan is "retiring as of the 22nd of February," Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary told AFP, noting he had overseen 23 national security events, including Obama's inaugurations in 2009 and 2013.

 

US secret service director Mark Sullivan, whose agency was embroiled in a scandal involving prostitutes in Colombia, will retire this month, a spokesman said on Friday.

Sullivan will step down on 22 February after almost three decades with the agency that protects the president and other officials, secret service spokesman Brian Leary said.

"The director is retiring," Leary said. "He's got almost 30 years of service so he's retiring. He's the third-longest- serving director."

Sullivan joined the secret service as a special agent with the Detroit office in 1983 and rose to become director of the agency in 2006.

Last year he went before Congress and apologised for the misconduct of employees who brought prostitutes back to their hotel rooms before a visit by Barack Obama to the Colombian resort of Cartagena.

It was the biggest scandal to hit the agency and set off several official investigations.

"His commitment to keeping our country and its top officials safe is unparalleled, and his devotion to the mission of the secret service and Department of Homeland Security has been unwavering," homeland security secretary Janet Napolitano said in a statement.

A Department of Homeland Security investigation last year determined that the actions of the secret service employees entangled in the prostitution scandal had not compromised the safety of the president or any sensitive information.

Sullivan has been described as polite, hard-working and loyal, and was generally credited with acting aggressively in response to the scandal that tarnished the agency.

 

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Anika Devi received her Bachelor’s degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University in 2012. She began freelancing for Business Solutions BD in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor.
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