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Secret Service Chief James Murray Leaves Office

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Secret Service director James Murray is stepping down from his post as head of the legendary protection service, according to an agency statement Thursday. testimony.

Murray, who has held the job since 2019, has been looking to retire “for some time” and plans to work in the private sector, according to a senior Department of Homeland Security official aware of his decision.

Murray has accepted a top security job with California-based social media company Snapchat, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to share internal details. Murray, a 27-year veteran of the Secret Service, held several top positions at the agency before becoming director in May 2019. His last day will be July 30, according to the statement.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the Secret Service under Murray’s leadership “has strengthened its status as the preeminent protective agency in the world and increased its investigative capabilities.”

January 6 showed dueling identities of Secret Service agents: Gutsy heroes vs. Trump yes-men

A Secret Service statement said Murray has “helped the agency navigate the unique challenges of the historic COVID-19 pandemic” as it continues to carry out “its integrated mission to provide protection for senior elected leaders and investigating crimes targeting our financial infrastructure.”

Still, best known for protecting current and former presidents and their families, the agency has endured multiple controversies over the past decade, including a prostitution scandal, White House security flaws during the Obama administration, and accusations of politicization under President Donald. Trump.

Two Secret Service employees in South Korea before President Biden’s trip to Asia in May were involved in conduct that ended in a confrontation with South Korean citizens. The incident took place while the officers were off duty, but they returned to the United States and were given administrative leave.

That episode came a month after agency leaders admitted that four Secret Service employees — including an agent assigned to protect First Lady Jill Biden — had allegedly been tricked by two men posing as federal agents, who showered them with gifts.

In recent weeks, his agents have become central characters in the House Committee’s investigation into the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol, with sometimes explosive testimony bringing unwanted attention to the agency.

Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified under oath last month that she was told that Trump lashed out at his protective detail on Jan. 6, 2021, when agents refused to take him to join his supporters in the march toward the Capitol, at one point at the wheel of the presidential vehicle.

Officials have said anonymously that Secret Service agents disagree with some of the details of Hutchinson’s account — and have said they’re willing to do so in affidavit — though they don’t dispute the idea that Trump was angry and wanted to get taken to the capital.

Hutchinson also testified that Trump had complained that the Secret Service’s weapons screening prevented armed supporters from attending his “Stop the Steal” rally at the Ellipse.

Secret Service was also part of its focus on Vice President Mike Pence, who refused requests from his detail to get into an armored car during the Jan. 6 attack. According to the testimony, he was concerned that his protectors would take him away from the Capitol and prevent him from overseeing the final count of the electoral college votes.

White House officials said Thursday there was no connection between the congressional hearings and Murray’s departure. “This has been in talks for several months — before his retirement, I believe, since April,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “So before the January 6 hearing.”

Jean-Pierre declined to discuss a potential replacement for Murray, but when asked if Biden would name the agency’s first black director, she noted the president’s commitment to diversity.

“I’m not going to rush the process, but as you know, this is a president who takes pride in making sure we have equality, that we have inclusion,” she said. “You can see that up and down in his administration. He wants to make sure we have a government that resembles America.”

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