For the first time in its history the US Secret Service has a woman as its chief.
Barack Obama appointed Julia Pierson to lead the organisation in a bid to rid the service of its macho culture.
As director, Pierson takes on responsibility for the safety of the president and his family.
“Obviously, she’s breaking the mold in terms of directors of the agencies and I think that people are all extraordinarily proud of her and we have the greatest confidence in the wonderful task that lies ahead and very confident she is going to do a great job,” Obama said at the swearing-in of the new director.
Last year the reputation of the service was badly damaged after revelations about preparations for Obama’s trip to Colombia.
Members of an advance team of Secret Service employees were disciplined after it was discovered that they had taken prostitutes back to the hotel where they were staying.
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