President Obama Taps Veteran Secret Service Agent Joseph Clancy to Lead Agency

PHOTO: Joseph Clancy, acting director of the U.S. Secret Service, waits to start a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, Nov. 19, 2014.Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Joseph Clancy, acting director of the U.S. Secret Service, waits to start a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, Nov. 19, 2014.

President Obama has tapped veteran Secret Service agent and acting interim director Joseph Clancy to lead the embattled agency after a tumultuous year of embarrassing security lapses and bipartisan calls for a leadership overhaul, a White House official confirmed to ABC News.

Clancy, who spent 27 years as an agent and later led the Secret Service presidential protection division, is personally well-liked and trusted by the Obama family, sources say.

He retired from the Secret Service in 2011 to take a post as a corporate security director at Comcast, but returned in October 2014 at Obama’s request after the abrupt resignation of director Julia Pierson.

"He has delivered the leadership many of us expected him to demonstrate," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest, who repeatedly characterized Clancy as "credible." "Certainly his solid performance over the past several months certainly served him well."

By selecting Clancy as the permanent agency head, Obama is bucking the recommendation of an independent review panel that had called for outside blood to lead the Secret Service, saying it suffered from an insulated management culture and lack of aggressive leadership.

The pick is also widely seen as an attempt to shore up morale in the agency's rank and file. Clancy is well respected among agents and officers and has worked to repair the damage of a difficult year.

PHOTO: In this July 10, 2009 file photo, Secret Service Agent Joseph Clancy, right, holds the door open for President Barack Obama upon arrival at the Vatican for a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI. Gregorio Borgia, File / AP Photo
In this July 10, 2009 file photo, Secret Service Agent Joseph Clancy, right, holds the door open for President Barack Obama upon arrival at the Vatican for a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI.

“Joe Clancy has taken strong action over the past several months to begin righting the ship at the Secret Service, he has been extremely responsive to Congress," said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the ranking member on the House Oversight Committee, which oversees the U.S. Secret Service.

The Republican chairman of the committee, Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, offered skepticism of Obama's selection, saying Clancy lacks a "fresh perspective."

"It is disappointing the President ignored the recommendation from the independent panel," Chaffetz said. "That said, I appreciate how available Acting Director Clancy has made himself over the past few months."