Julia Pierson: First Female Director of US Secret Service Started at Disneyland

The Guardian commented that her nomination marks the end of macho culture. As the White House reported, Barack Obama charged Julia Pierson with the post of the director of the U.S. Secret Service. Pierson will be the first female director since the agency was created in 1865.

“Over her 30 years of experience with the Secret Service, Julia has consistently exemplified the spirit and dedication the men and women of the service demonstrate every day … Julia is eminently qualified to lead the agency that not only safeguards Americans at major events and secures our financial system, but also protects our leaders and our first families,” announced President Obama in his statement.

Pierson’s predecessor in the post was Mark Sullivan. He left embroiled in scandal. Last year the public was shocked by news that Secret Service agents, who were preparing for Barack Obama’s visit to Colombia, had organized parties involving prostitutes.

Although Sullivan assured that the president’s security was never compromised because of the agents’ excesses, after seven years as director, he retired under a hail of criticism.

“By appointing a woman to lead the 148-year-old service, the White House is sending a pointed message that a macho culture will not be tolerated,” the British newspaper, The Guardian, comments.

The Secret Service is an agency which deals with detecting financial crimes and protecting the U.S. president, vice-president and their families, as well as special guests of the U.S. government. The Secret Service was established just after the Civil War to fight against counterfeiting. Until 2003, the agency was a part of the Department of the Treasury. It has now been incorporated into the Department of Homeland Security.

Pierson’s nomination does not require Senate approval. Julia Pierson has previously served as chief of staff of the Secret Service. Originally from Orlando, she graduated from the University of Central Florida. In 1980, she joined the police and, three years later, the Secret Service in Miami. She is 53 years old. Six years ago, in an interview for the portal Smithsonian.com, she reminded the interviewer of her first job — at Disneyland: “I wore one of those character outfits for a while in Americans on Parade. To this day, I think the experience of dealing with large crowds at the park had a good influence on my ability to do that sort of work with the Secret Service.”

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