WASHINGTON — Julia Pierson, the director of the Secret Service, is resigning in the wake of several security breaches.
The resignation came less than a day after lawmakers from both parties assailed Ms. Pierson’s leadership and said they feared for the lives of the president and others in the protection of the agency.
On Wednesday morning, Ms. Pierson met with Jeh C. Johnson, the secretary of Homeland Security, the department that oversees the Secret Service. In a statement, Mr. Johnson said that he had accepted Ms. Pierson’s resignation, and that he had appointed Joseph Clancy, a former agent in charge of the Presidential Protective Division, to become the agency’s acting director.
Mr. Clancy was in charge of the presidential detail the night in November 2009 when Michaele and Tareq Salahi, then a married couple, managed to get past Secret Service checkpoints for President Obama’s first state dinner without being on the guest list.
Mr. Johnson also said that he was directing his deputy at the Department of Homeland Security to oversee an internal review of the Sept. 19 incident in which an intruder jumped over the fence around the White House and penetrated deep inside the mansion.
And bowing to growing demands for an outside inquiry by Democratic and Republican members of Congress, Mr. Johnson said that he would appoint a “distinguished panel of independent experts” to report recommendations to him by Dec. 15.
“I will also request that the panel advise me about whether it believes, given the series of recent events, there should be a review of broader issues concerning the Secret Service,” Mr. Johnson said in the statement. “The security of the White House compound should be the panel’s primary and immediate priority.”