Director of the United States Secret Service

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Director of the
United States Secret Service
Logo of the United States Secret Service.svg
Seal of the Secret Service
Flag of the United States Secret Service.svg
Flag of the Secret Service
Secret Service Director James M. Murray.jpg
James M. Murray

since May 1, 2019
United States Secret Service
Reports toSecretary of Homeland Security
SeatWashington, D.C.
AppointerPresident of the United States
Term lengthNo fixed term
FormationJuly 5, 1865
First holderWilliam P. Wood (as Chief)
DeputyDeputy Director of the Secret Service

The director of the United States Secret Service is the head of the United States Secret Service, and responsible for the day-to-day operations.

The Secret Service is a federal law enforcement agency that is part of the United States Department of Homeland Security.[1][2] The service is mandated by Congress to carry out a unique dual mission: safeguarding the financial and critical infrastructure of the United States, and protecting the nation’s leaders.[3][4][1]

The director is appointed by, and serves at the pleasure of the president of the United States, and is not subject to Senate confirmation.[5] The director reports to the secretary of homeland security, and operates with the general directions thereof. Prior to March 1, 2003, the Secret Service was a part of the United States Department of the Treasury.[2][6]


President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation creating the Secret Service on April 14, 1865, the day of his assassination.[7] It was commissioned on July 5, 1865, in Washington, D.C., as the "Secret Service Division" of the Department of the Treasury.[8] After being appointed by President Andrew Johnson, William P. Wood was sworn in as the first chief of the Secret Service on July 5, 1865 by Secretary of the Treasury Hugh McCulloch.[9]

When the Secret Service was established, its head was called the chief of the Secret Service. In 1965, the title was changed to the director of the Secret Service, four years into the term of James Joseph Rowley (1961–1973).[9] The longest serving head of the Secret Service was William H. Moran, who served under five presidents from 1917 to 1936.

On March 27, 2013, President Barack Obama appointed Julia Pierson to be the twenty-third director of the Secret Service.[10] She became the first female director of the agency.[11] On October 1, 2014, the Secret Service leadership changed to Director Joseph Clancy, a retired agent who formerly led the Presidential Protective Division. On March 4, 2017, Director Joseph Clancy retired, leaving the position vacant until a replacement was nominated by President Donald Trump.[12] Meanwhile, William J. Callahan served as Acting Director of the United States Secret Service from March 4, 2017 to April 25, 2017. Randolph D. Alles, former acting deputy commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, was appointed director by President of the United States Donald Trump.[13]

List of chiefs and directors[edit]

No. Picture Name Took office Left office Time in office President appointed by
William P. Wood
Wood, WilliamWilliam P. Wood
July 5, 186518693–4 yearsJohnson, AndrewAndrew Johnson
Hiram C. Whitley
Whitley, HiramHiram C. Whitley
186918744–5 yearsGrant, UlyssesUlysses S. Grant
Elmer Washburn
Washburn, ElmerElmer Washburn
187418761–2 yearsGrant, UlyssesUlysses S. Grant
James Brooks
Brooks, JamesJames Brooks
(c. 1809–?)
1876188811–12 yearsHayes, RutherfordRutherford B. Hayes
John S. Bell
Bell, JohnJohn S. Bell
(18??–c. 1900)
188818901–2 yearsCleveland, GroverGrover Cleveland
Andrew L. Drummond
Drummond, AndrewAndrew L. Drummond
189118942–3 yearsHarrison, BenjaminBenjamin Harrison
William P. Hazen
Hazen, WilliamWilliam P. Hazen
189418983–4 yearsCleveland, GroverGrover Cleveland
John Wilkie
Wilkie, JohnJohn Wilkie
1898191112–13 yearsMcKinley, WilliamWilliam McKinley
William J. Flynn
Flynn, WilliamWilliam J. Flynn
191219174–5 yearsTaft, WilliamWilliam Howard Taft
William H. Moran
Moran, WilliamWilliam H. Moran
(c. 1864–1946)
1917193618–19 yearsWilson, WoodrowWoodrow Wilson
Frank J. Wilson
Wilson, FrankFrank J. Wilson
(c. 1887–1970)
193719468–9 yearsRoosevelt, FranklinFranklin D. Roosevelt
James J. Maloney
Maloney, JamesJames J. Maloney
194619481–2 yearsTruman, HarryHarry Truman
U. E. Baughman
Baughman, UrbanusU. E. Baughman
November 29, 1948August 31, 196112 yearsTruman, HarryHarry Truman
James Joseph Rowley
Rowley, JamesJames Joseph Rowley
September 1, 1961October 197312 yearsKennedy, JohnJohn F. Kennedy
H. Stuart Knight
Knight, H.H. Stuart Knight
197311 May 19817–8 yearsNixon, RichardRichard Nixon
John R. Simpson
Simpson, JohnJohn R. Simpson
1981199210–11 yearsReagan, RonaldRonald Reagan
John Magaw
Magaw, JohnJohn Magaw
(born 1935)
199219930–1 yearsBush, GeorgeGeorge H. W. Bush
Eljay B. Bowron
Bowron, EljayEljay B. Bowron199319973–4 yearsClinton, BillBill Clinton
Lewis C. Merletti
Merletti, LewisLewis C. Merletti
(born c. 1948)
June 6, 1997March 3, 19991 yearClinton, BillBill Clinton
Brian L. Stafford
Stafford, BrianBrian L. Stafford
(born c. 1959)
March 4, 1999January 24, 20033 yearsClinton, BillBill Clinton
W. Ralph Basham
Basham, W.W. Ralph Basham
(born 1943)
January 27, 2003May 30, 20063 yearsBush, GeorgeGeorge W. Bush
Mark J. Sullivan
Sullivan, MarkMark J. Sullivan
(born c.1955)
May 31, 2006March 27, 20136 yearsBush, GeorgeGeorge W. Bush
Julia Pierson
Pierson, JuliaJulia Pierson
(born 1959)
March 27, 2013October 1, 20141 yearObama, BarackBarack Obama
Joseph Clancy
Clancy, JosephJoseph Clancy
(born 1955)
October 1, 2014March 4, 20172 yearsObama, BarackBarack Obama
William J. Callahan
Callahan, WilliamWilliam J. Callahan
(born 19??)
March 4, 2017April 25, 201752 daysTrump, DonaldDonald Trump
Randolph Alles
Alles, RandolphRandolph Alles
(born 1954)
April 25, 2017May 1, 20192 years, 6 daysTrump, DonaldDonald Trump
James M. Murray
Murray, JamesJames M. Murray
(born ??)
May 1, 2019Incumbent0 yearTrump, DonaldDonald Trump

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Records of the U.S. Secret Service (USSS)". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Resse, Shawn (April 16, 2012). "The U.S. Secret Service: An Examination and Analysis of Its Evolving Missions" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
  3. ^ "United States Secret Service: Investigative Mission". United States Secret Service. Archived from the original on April 11, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
  4. ^ "United States Secret Service: Employment Opportunities - Uniformed Officer". United States Secret Service. Archived from the original on April 14, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
  5. ^ "Secret Service veteran first woman to lead it". The Boston Globe. March 27, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
  6. ^ On March 1, 2003, the Secret Service was transferred from United States Department of the Treasury to the United States Department of Homeland Security, pursuant to the Homeland Security Act of 2002.
  7. ^ "A Brief History Of: The Secret Service". TIME. November 20, 2008. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
  8. ^ "The U.S. Secret Service in History". National Archives and Records Administration. 1998. Archived from the original on March 8, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
  9. ^ a b "Secret Service History". United States Service. Archived from the original on February 19, 2010. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
  10. ^ "President Obama Announces A Key Administration Post". The White House. March 26, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
  11. ^ "Obama to name Julia Pierson as new Secret Service director". Washington Post. March 26, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
  12. ^ US Secret Service (February 14, 2017). "Retirement of Director Joseph P. Clancy" (PDF). US Secret Service. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
  13. ^ "Randolph D. Alles appointed 25th Director of the United States Secret Service" (PDF) (Press release). April 25, 2017. Retrieved April 25, 2017.

External links[edit]