US Secret Service director to leave post

Director of the US Secret Service Randolph Alles speaks during a press conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC on October 26, 2018Image copyright

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Randolph Alles was director of the Secret Service, the Homeland Security division tasked with guarding the president

US President Donald Trump has reportedly fired the director of the US Secret Service.

Randolph Alles is one of several Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials being ousted on Monday, says the BBC’s US affiliate, CBS News.

Mr Alles’ departure comes a day after DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nilsen tendered her resignation under pressure over the situation at the US-Mexico border.

Dozens of top officials have exited the Trump administration since 2017.

The White House confirmed Mr Alles – who reported directly to Ms Nielsen – would go, but did not say whether Mr Trump fired him.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement: “Randolph ‘Tex’ Alles has done a great job at the agency over the last two years, and the President is thankful for his over 40 years of service to the country.”

She said Secret Service member James Murray would take over as director in May.

Mr Alles reported directly to Ms Nielsen, who announced her resignation on Sunday, after facing increasing pressure to do so from Mr Trump.

The Republican president had repeatedly accused Ms Nielsen of not being tough enough on border security.

CBS reports that Mr Alles was asked to leave around 10 days ago – before a 30 March incident where a Chinese woman carrying a malware device allegedly lied to access Mr Trump’s private Florida golf club, Mar-a-Lago.

Following Ms Nielsen’s resignation, Mr Trump announced the head of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Kevin McAleenan, would become the acting secretary.

However, US media report that under US law, the department’s undersecretary, Claire Grady, should have been the one to take over for Ms Nielsen as the senior Senate-confirmed official.

With Mr Alles’ departure, there are also reports that Ms Grady’s position is under review to smooth the way for Mr McAleenan.

Mr Alles was appointed by Mr Trump in April 2017. A former two-star Marine Corps general, he was the first Secret Service director in at least a century to have not come from within the agency.

A number of officials in the Trump administration are serving in an acting capacity, including the president’s own chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney.

Interim secretaries are also in place at the Departments of Defence, the Department of the Interior and the Office of Management and Budget, among other federal agencies.

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