Secret Service deputy out
WASHINGTON — The Secret Service said Monday that it was removing its second-ranking official, forcing out one of the last remaining senior managers who had presided over a string of embarrassing security lapses in recent years.
The ouster of Deputy Director Alvin “A.T.” Smith, spurred by lawmakers who have called for fresh leadership at the troubled agency, occurred three days before he was scheduled to testify before a House panel.
Smith, who oversaw the Secret Service’s day-to-day operations for the past three years, was expected to be grilled about key decisions he made regarding spending cuts and officer training — issues that have been cited as contributing factors for recent security mistakes.
The chairman and ranking Democrat of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Republican Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Democrat Elijah Cummings of Maryland, shared with White House officials their strong preference that Smith, 56, should not remain in the job, according to people briefed on the discussions.
Chaffetz and Cummings applauded his departure in a joint statement, saying that they had met with administration officials and “expressed our shared conviction that the Secret Service needs to turn the page with respect to its senior leadership.”
Smith has been invited to transfer to another position within the Department of Homeland Security, according to an email sent to Secret Service staff that praised Smith’s 29 years of service to the agency.
Shake-ups cost Director Julia Pierson her job last fall and led to the forced removal and retirements of most of the agency’s senior management.