US secret service director Mark Sullivan has announced his retirement, bringing to a close a turbulent period for the law enforcement agency that included White House gate-crashers during the State Dinner hosted for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Director of the US secret
service since May 2006, Sullivan served in the agency for nearly 30 years.
As head of the US secret service he had to testify before the US Congress because of the White House gatecrash during the November 2009 State Dinner for Singh.
Sullivan will step down on February 22 after almost three decades with the agency that protects the President and other officials, secret service spokesman Brian Leary said.
"The director is retiring," Leary said. "He's got almost 30 years of service so he's retiring. He's the third-longest-serving director."
Last year Sullivan went before Congress and apologised for the misconduct of employees who brought prostitutes back to their hotel rooms before a visit by Barack Obama to the Colombian resort of Cartagena. It was the biggest scandal to hit the agency and set off several official investigations.
US President Barack Obama praised Sullivan for leading the Agency with incredible dedication and integrity.
“The secret service is best known for protecting our nation's leaders, but every day they also protect the American people. From securing large events such as Presidential Inaugurations to safeguarding our financial system, the men and women of the agency perform their mission with professionalism and dedication," Obama said.
Sullivan began his secret service career as a special agent assigned to the Detroit Field Office in 1983.
During his tenure, Sullivan achieved a multitude of key leadership benchmark, including promoting the Secret Service Uniformed Division Modernisation Act, and initiating the Former Presidents Protection Act, which amends the federal criminal code to eliminate certain limitations on the length of secret service protection for former presidents and their spouses and children.
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