President Joe Biden appointed Kim Cheatle as head of the US Secret Service on Wednesday, the White House announced.
“Kim had a long and distinguished career in the Secret Service, rising through the ranks during her 27 years with the agency, becoming the first woman to serve as Deputy Director of Protective Operations,” Biden said. in a press release.
The Bidens have a close relationship with Cheatle. She served on Biden’s security detail when he was vice president. Biden said his family “came to trust his judgment and his advice.”
“She is a distinguished law enforcement professional with exceptional leadership skills, and was by far the best choice to lead the agency at a critical time for the Secret Service,” her statement read. “She has my full confidence and I look forward to working with her.”
Director is not a Senate confirmed position.
Prior to leaving the agency for the private sector, Cheatle not only held leadership positions in Washington, DC, but across the country for the agency.
“She has an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the Agency’s investigative and protective missions. I am confident that her skills, combined with her fresh perspective, will enable the Secret Service to build on its strong foundations to grow.” and evolve into an even more efficient agency,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement Wednesday.
The Secret Service is housed in the Department of Homeland Security.
Don Mihalek, an ABC News contributor and retired Secret Service agent who worked with Cheatle during her time at the agency, told ABC News that she “is a professional who has the skill and ability to run the agency.
Mihalek said the agency she is returning to is “different” from the one she retired from two years ago, and it will be up to her to decide which direction the agency goes.
The Secret Service has recently come under scrutiny for deleting text messages during and during the days surrounding the Jan. 6 uprising.
A Secret Service spokesperson acknowledged last month that the January 5-6, 2021 text messages were deleted after being sought by the DHS Inspector General.
A letter sent by the inspector general last Wednesday to the heads of the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees said the messages had been deleted “as part of a device replacement program” although the Inspector General has requested such communications.
Anthony Guglielmi, the agency’s spokesman, rejected any “innuendo” that the agents “maliciously” deleted the texts.
The agency has sent communications to employees on how to download digital files to their local devices if they are government documents, according to a source familiar with the Secret Service migration process.