Even with a change at the top of the Secret Service, the agency's missteps aren't going to disappear. After a knife-wielding Iraq War veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder jumped the White House fence and made it to the East Room last month, the agency has been in full-blown crisis, underlined Wednesday when the agency's director, Julia Pierson, resigned. As if that wasn't enough, it was also revealed this week that, unbeknownst to the Secret Service, an armed felon shared an elevator with President Obama last month.
The day before she resigned, Pierson testified before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the agency's breaches. Pierson said the agency was reviewing its protocols to ensure this wouldn't happen again, acknowledging that "our security plan was not properly executed."
With all the focus on White House security, it's easy to forget that the Secret Service's mission isn't just protecting the president and his family. Per federal law, the Secret Service can assign agents to a number of other people, in Washington and elsewhere. There are the obvious examples—Obama's immediate family, Vice President Joe Biden and his family. Then there are former presidents who, unless they decline protection, get agents for life. (A decade after resigning, Richard Nixon opted out of his due protection, choosing to pay for his own security detail rather than burn taxpayer money.)