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First woman sworn in as US Secret Service Chief

Washington, Mar 28 (): US President Barack Obama has selected veteran agent Julia Pierson as the head of the U.S. Secret Service, the agency that protects the president and his family. She will be the first woman to lead the male dominated agency, a year after its status was stained by a scandal involving agents and prostitutes in Colombia.

Julia Pierson was sworn at an official ceremony that took place on Wednesday at the White House with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden presiding the ceremony.

Three decades ago, 53-year-old Pierson began her career as an agent in Miami and for the past five years she has served as chief of staff to the outgoing director, Mark Sullivan. She has held high-ranking posts all through the Secret Service, including deputy assistant director of the office of protective operations and assistant director of human resources and training.

Peers defined her as a dedicated and skilled manager who has helped oversee a $250 million project to modernize the institution’s communications and data-management networks.

Obama said Pierson has had a typical 30-year career with the agency and is highly qualified for the job. He added that Julia has steadily demonstrated the spirit and dedication the men and women of the service establish every day.

With her exemplary career, Obama assured that all these experiences would guide her as she takes on this new challenge to lead the impressive men and women of this important agency.

The president’s choice for the 23rd director of the troubled agency shows that women have come a long way since 1975, when the first woman was hired at the Secret Service, where still today, only 20 percent are female.

Along with protecting the president, the duties of the Secret Service include handling credit card fraud, investigation of counterfeiting and other financial crimes.

The Secret Service has been condemned for having an insular, male-dominated culture, and its status was stained by a 2012 scandal involving its agents and prostitutes in Colombia.