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U.S. Secret Service director is out, latest casualty in DHS shakeup

Randolph Alles
Director of the United States Secret Service Randolph Alles speaks at the Atlanta Press Club in Atlanta on Feb. 1, 2018. Copyright David Goldman
Copyright David Goldman
By Dartunorro Clark and Pete Williams with NBC News Politics
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The departure comes the day after the head of the Department of Homeland Security resigned under pressure.


The director of the U.S. Secret Service is leaving his position, NBC News confirmed on Monday.

USSS Director Randolph Alles, a retired Marine Corps major general who was appointed two years ago, is on his way out the door just the day after the head of the Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, resigned under pressure on Sunday night. Alles reported to her.

More ousters of agency heads within DHS are possible and a number of key positions remains vacant.

An administration official said the decision to seek the resignation of Alles was made 10 to 14 days ago — before a March 28 incident in which a Chinese woman was arrested at Mar-a-Lago without an invite, touching off security concerns.

"This was not based on any single event," the official said, adding that Alles was told President Donald Trump was preparing to make changes in leadership throughout DHS, of which the Secret Service is one component.

CNN first reported Alles' departure.

Alles was tapped by Trump in April 2017 to lead the agency and was the first director in at least 100 years not to come from the agency's ranks, according to The New York Times.

Alles, who previously served as the acting deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, took the helm of the Secret Service as it faced budget problems amid reports the first family was straining protective resources.

He told USA Today in a 2017 interview that the agency's funding problems were partly caused by the president's large family and their multiple, oft-visited Trump properties both in the U.S. and overseas. "The president has a large family, and our responsibility is required in law,'' Alles told the newspaper. "I can't change that. I have no flexibility.''

Shortly before Alles became the agency's head, a 26-year-old California man wearing a backpack managed to scale the fence along the southern side of the White House — the first such breach reported during Trump's presidency.

Meanwhile, Trump may remove or reassign Claire Grady from her current role as acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, in order to install Kevin McAleenan, the current commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as the Acting Secretary for DHS, according to three administration officials.

Her departure may be necessary to avoid any legal challenges to McAleenan's installation as acting secretary, according to the officials.

As the third-ranking officials in the department, Grady is in line to assume the role as acting secretary Nielsen's resignation. But Trump announced on Sunday that he planned to make McAleenan the acting secretary.

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