Who is Joseph Clancy, interim director of the Secret Service?

Dylan Stableford

Retired Secret Service agent Joseph Clancy was appointed acting interim director of the Secret Service by the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday after the resignation of Julia Pierson, the embattled agency's first female director, over the series of recent security blunders.

The selection of Clancy, former head of the Presidential Protective Division of the Secret Service, was applauded by White House press secretary Josh Earnest, who said Clancy had the "full confidence" of President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.

The 58-year-old Clancy, who led presidential detail for the first family, retired from the Secret Service in 2011 to become director of corporate security for Comcast.

"Joe Clancy is an exceptional security professional ... who has distinguished himself throughout his career for his integrity and strong management skills," Comcast said in a statement on Wednesday. "During more than three years at Comcast he was an integral part of our security team and we are sad to see him leave."



"I appreciate his willingness to leave his position in the private sector on very short notice and return to public service for a period," Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said on Wednesday.

According to his Comcast bio, Clancy attended West Point and graduated from Villanova University in the Philadelphia area, where he lives.

Before joining the Secret Service, Clancy was a history teacher at Father Judge High School in Philadelphia, where he taught classes on modern European history and American government.

Because of the nature of the Secret Service, not a great deal is known about Clancy's first stint at the agency, NBC News noted: "But his face should be familiar to the American people — he's the balding man walking behind the president and his family in hundreds of pictures of the First Family during the first 2½ years of the Obama administration."

Clancy and the first family, Oct. 11, 2009 (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

According to The New York Times, Clancy also served as a member of the personal security details for Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

David Axelrod, former White House senior adviser under Obama, praised the selection.



Rep. Elijah Cummings did, too.

"I'm very pleased," Cummings, D-Md., told NBC News. "He is a person the president has utmost confidence in — he will take a bullet for him."

According to the Washington Post, Clancy's Secret Service experience includes a run as director of National Special Security Events. He also "led a team of agents that conducted major investigations at the agency’s New York field office."

Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, called Clancy a “solid professional to the core.

“Joe is an honorable, battle-tested leader," Adler said in a statement. "And I expect his level of commitment and professionalism will have a positive contagion impact on the workforce,”

Clancy arrives back at the White House in the wake of a flurry of Secret Service scandals that led to the ouster of Pierson.

But his previous tenure wasn't scandal-free. In 2009, Clancy was in charge of security for the Obamas when Michaele and Tareq Salahi crashed a White House state dinner.

Still, former Secret Service Director John Magaw called Clancy the "perfect" choice.

"Today, the rain stopped," Magaw told the USA Today. "It's still cloudy, hot and humid. But this is a good move."