“Jill and I know firsthand Kim’s dedication to her work and to the people and mission of the Secret Service,” Biden said. While serving his detail, Biden said, “We have come to rely on her judgment and counsel.”
Growing up, Cheatle became the first woman to serve as the deputy director of protective operations, one of the most prominent Secret Service jobs.
“She is a leading law enforcement professional with exceptional leadership skills and was easily the best choice to head the agency at a critical time for the Secret Service,” Biden said. “She has my complete confidence and I look forward to working with her.”
The announcement came just weeks after Secret Service director James Murray announced he would be stepping down to take a job as chief security officer for California-based Snap Inc., owner of social media site Snapchat.
The move also came after high-profile, often unwelcome incidents for the agency, which is tasked with protecting top US officials, including former presidents, and visiting foreign dignitaries.
Two Secret Service employees sent to South Korea for Biden’s trip there in May were involved in conduct that ended in a confrontation with South Korean civilians. The incident happened while the officers were off duty, but they returned to the United States and were given administrative leave.
A month earlier, Secret Service leaders admitted that four Secret Service employees — including an agent appointed to protect First Lady Jill Biden — had allegedly been tricked by two men posing as federal agents who showered them with gifts. .
In recent weeks, Secret Service agents have given dramatic testimony before the House Committee on Jan. 6.
Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that she was told that President Donald Trump lashed out at his protective detail when officers refused to take him to join his supporters marching toward the Capitol, at one point jumping at the wheel of the presidential vehicle.
January 6 showed two faces of the secret service
Officials have said on condition of anonymity that Secret Service agents disagree with some details of Hutchinson’s account — and are willing to do so under oath — though they don’t dispute the idea that Trump was angry and wanted to get to the Capitol. brought .
When Murray announced his departure last month, White House officials said it was unrelated to congressional hearings.
The only other woman to head the Secret Service was Julia Pierson in 2013-2014, who resigned after security eroded President Barack Obama’s trust in her.
Cheatle has held a number of positions at the agency, including her job as part of the Vice Presidential Protective Division, and in 2021 Biden awarded her a Presidential Rank Award. She is currently a senior director at PepsiCo North America, overseeing facilities, personnel and business continuity.