Trump Appoints Secret Service Director as Congress Questions Cyber Mission

Randolph Alles is the CBP’s acting deputy commissioner.

Randolph Alles is the CBP’s acting deputy commissioner. U.S. Customs and Border Protection

New chief will inherit an agency roiled by scandals, digital and otherwise.

A top official with U.S. Customs and Border Protection will be the next director of the Secret Service, the White House announced Tuesday.

Randolph Alles is the CBP’s acting deputy commissioner and was formerly a major general in the U.S. Marine Corps. The appointment comes about two months after previous director Joseph Clancy’s Valentine’s Day resignation.

Alles will inherit an agency struggling to repair a reputation for shoddy information security and to maintain its cybersecurity mission. That’s on top of myriad non-cyber scandals.

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In addition to its main responsibility of protecting current and former presidents and their families, the Secret Service has several other missions including investigating cyber breaches in the financial sector.

The service also counsels protectees about digital security, though it is not tasked with protecting their emails or other digital products.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee suggested in a 2015 report the Secret Service should consider abandoning its cyber mission in order to focus its resources on protection.

Shortly before that report was released, some Secret Service agents released screenshots of an application committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, made to the agency that the agents should not have been allowed to access. An October 2016 audit found the agency’s information security protections had not sufficiently improved.

The service confirmed in March that an agency laptop had been stolen containing information about 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s private email server and Trump Tower floor plans.

Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., applauded Trump in a statement for choosing someone from outside the agency who could “address the cultural and operational issues currently facing the Service.”

House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., expressed confidence Alles “will bring the leadership and changes needed to improve the agency.”