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Written testimony of USSS Director Joseph Clancy for a joint House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency, and Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management hearing titled “Examining Ongoing Challenges at the U.S. Secret Service and their Government Wide Implications”

Release Date: 
November 17, 2015

210 House Visitor Center, U.S. Capitol

Good afternoon, Chairman Lankford, Chairman Perry, Ranking Member Heitkamp, Ranking Member Watson Coleman, and distinguished members of the Committees. Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. I look forward to discussing the ongoing challenges at the United States Secret Service (“Secret Service”) including those recently outlined by the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) Office of Inspector General (“OIG”). I am also prepared to elaborate on the organizational changes and improvements implemented over the past year to address them. I would like to express my gratitude and recognize the support of Congress in making many of these changes possible.

I proudly sit before you today representing the thousands of men and women who selflessly execute the mission of this agency on a daily basis. Over the past 150 years, the Secret Service has established itself as one of the most highly regarded law enforcement agencies in the world. Throughout our history, we have continued to answer the call to serve our country, and through our work, have created a tradition of excellence. The cornerstone of our success is the absolute dedication to duty displayed by the men and women of this agency.

Investigation into the Improper Access of a Secret Service Data System

I would like at the outset to address the recent investigation by the DHS OIG into allegations that Secret Service employees improperly accessed and distributed information in internal databases. The investigation found that a number of employees violated existing Secret Service and DHS policies pertaining to the unauthorized access and disclosure of information protected by the Privacy Act of 1974. The behavior these employees exhibited is unacceptable. I am angered by the underlying actions reflected in the OIG’s findings and am committed to ensuring that all employees are held to the highest standards of professional conduct, whether on or off duty. Those we protect and the public we serve expect us to live by our oaths and the values we have established as an agency, and we should demand nothing less from each other. We are better than the actions illustrated in this report and people will be held accountable for their actions. We have made necessary changes to technology in order to limit the potential for future misconduct, and are implementing enhanced training. I will continue to review policies, practices, and training to address employee misconduct and demand the highest level of integrity of all our employees.

Accountability

On behalf of the men and women of the Secret Service, I would like to publicly renew my apology for this breach of trust and confidence and state my commitment to restoring it. I have heard loud and clear the demand for accountability and need for timely, decisive discipline – and I agree. I also understand that apologies and expressions of anger are not enough. Secretary Jeh Johnson and I stand together on this point. Appropriate discipline will be issued in accordance with DHS and Secret Service policy in the coming weeks. I am confident that the actions regarding the individuals involved will be prompt, fair, and appropriate.

Technology

On March 24, 2015, there were technological security deficiencies within the Secret Service’s primary internal database that contributed to the unauthorized access of information. These internal vulnerabilities have been addressed and the potential for similar misconduct in the future mitigated. The Master Central Index (“MCI”) was a mainframe application developed in 1984 that served as a central searching application and case management system. More specifically, MCI contained records from protective, investigative, and human capital divisions and served as a single access point for investigators and administrators. A significant deficiency of this arrangement was that an MCI user had access to all of the data in MCI regardless of whether it was necessary for that user’s job function or not.

The Secret Service’s Information Integration and Technology Transformation (“IITT”) program was established in FY 2010. In recognition of the limitations of MCI and other mainframe applications, the Secret Service initiated the Mainframe Application Refactoring (“MAR”) project in 2011 to assess the existing 48 applications residing on the mainframe and migrate necessary capabilities and accompanying data to a non-Mainframe, secure, highly available and compartmentalized environment. DHS estimated the project would take 10 years to complete. The Secret Service accelerated the MAR project in 2013 and was able to achieve project closure on June 24, 2015. At that time, all employee Mainframe access was revoked. The new systems are completely operational, and all legacy data has been migrated to new platforms where data is locked down and access to data is dependent upon job function. Protective, investigative, and human capital records reside in different systems and internal controls have now been implemented to restrict access to those systems in two ways. Now access is (1) limited to the respective directorates responsible for the information; and/or (2) based on the role of the system user within the organization. Shutdown of MCI began at the end of July, and it was fully powered down on August 12, 2015. Disassembly of the Mainframe began in August, and it was physically removed from the data center on September 16, 2015.

Training

The OIG report also cited the need for improved and more frequent training related to unauthorized access of sensitive data. We have been working to reiterate and reinforce existing policies and training. This includes the longstanding, existing policy regarding the proper access to databases and handling of Privacy Act protected information, which is clearly stated in the Secret Service Ethics Guide, in the Table of Penalties, and within the Secret Service Manual sections related to rules of behavior with respect to the use of information technology. Employees are required to certify annually that they have reviewed these manual sections.

At the time of the conduct in question, the Secret Service was already providing a one-hour briefing to Special Agent and Uniformed Division Training Classes that includes material on the Privacy Act. A senior Government Information Specialist from the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act Branch of the Office of Government and Public Affairs teaches the class and focuses, in part, on PII, with comprehensive instructional material on the subject added to the content in approximately 2012. A one-hour in-service online training titled “IT Security Awareness” is required as part of the agency’s adherence to the Federal Information Security Management Act (“FISMA”). The course outlines the role of federal employees in the protection of information and in ensuring the secure operation of federal information systems. The Privacy Act is also discussed during in-service ethics classes administered to the field by Secret Service Office of Chief Counsel instructors. Further, DHS requires Secret Service employees to complete annual in-service online training titled, “Privacy at DHS: Protecting Personal Information.” This training was incorporated into the required curriculum in 2012 and covers proper handling of PII. While the class is annually required, due to the gravity of the findings in the OIG report, I instructed the workforce in an official message on October 16th to retake the class by November 30th.

Additionally, at my direction enhanced briefings regarding the Privacy Act are now being provided to Special Agent and Uniformed Division Training Classes by Office of Chief Counsel instructors. A permanent curriculum is being developed and a formal class for candidate and in-service employee training is anticipated in the near future.

Finally, I would like to address my statements and the decision of the OIG to reopen the investigation on October 5, 2015. Prior to the public release of the report on September 30, 2015, the OIG provided me a draft electronic copy of the report for review. I received this draft report from the OIG during the National Special Security Events (“NSSEs”) in New York City associated with the Pope’s visit and the UN General Assembly. During the process of reviewing the draft, I was reminded by a colleague that I had been informed of a rumor regarding the individual’s application history on March 25. While I myself do not recall hearing of this rumor, several others have confirmed that I did, and that it was a general rumor about the individual’s past application; it did not relate to USSS employees improperly accessing databases or sharing protected information. In order to ensure accuracy within the report, on my own initiative I contacted the OIG to correct the record. I did not make the decision to contact the OIG blindly and was fully aware that additional scrutiny would result from my doing so. I made this decision because I feel that it is important to be as forthcoming, accurate, and complete as possible. I expect this from my employees and expect nothing less from myself.

The OIG published an addendum in October reporting its assessment of the updated information pertaining to when I was made aware of this rumor. Interviews with former Directors, my Deputy Director, and my former Chief of Staff only serve to corroborate that the information available to me at the time was nothing more than a rumor. The information was not attributed to a Secret Service data system or indicative of any action – inappropriate or otherwise – by any Secret Service employee. Nothing in the addendum contradicts what I have maintained from the beginning - that at no time prior to April 2nd, was I aware that potential misconduct could be the source of this rumor. When I did learn of it, I began taking immediate action, contacting the OIG and sending an official message to the workforce on the handling of sensitive information.

Fulfilling the Independent Protective Mission Panel’s Recommendations

I would now like to turn to the actions we have taken to implement the recommendations of the independent Protective Mission Panel (the “Panel”), which was established by Secretary Jeh Johnson following the events of September 19,2014 to undertake a broad review of the Secret Service’s protection of the White House complex. The Panel’s work, aided by full cooperation of the Secret Service and DHS, concluded with the publication of the Report from the United States Secret Service Protective Mission Panel to the Secretary of Homeland Security (the “Report”), issued on December 15, 2014.

The Report memorialized the findings and recommendations of the Panel in three general areas: Training and Personnel; Technology, Perimeter Security, and Operations; and Leadership. Upon receipt of the Report, the Secret Service acknowledged and accepted the Panel’s findings and recommendations. A number of the issues found in the review were recognized independently prior to the issuance of the Report and were being addressed, while those that remained were prioritized and incorporated into a strategic action plan designed to fully implement the Panel’s findings as time and resources permitted.

I am proud to say that we have significantly altered the way the Secret Service is structured and managed since my return to the agency. We have also made strides in hiring new members of our workforce, and in expanding training opportunities for current members. I am also realistic in knowing that the changes we are making will take time to realize their full impact, particularly as they relate to staffing levels, and that we must continue to communicate these changes to our workforce. Some of the PMP recommendations will never be closed, as they require a commitment to ongoing evaluation, innovation and continuous improvement. I am hopeful that the structural changes we have made to the Secret Service will foster an environment where this perspective is not only valued, but also encouraged. I am committed to this process and am certain that the Secret Service will emerge a stronger agency with the continued support of the Department, the Administration, and the Congress.

Training and Personnel

I recognized early on in my tenure that many of the most serious problems facing the Secret Service can be traced back to inadequate staffing levels. Achieving appropriate staffing levels will allow the workforce to undertake a level of training commensurate with the mission and help to address the resultant effect on morale. Once underway, the process is, to some extent, self-repairing in that as morale improves, attrition rates will fall and staffing levels will continue to increase toward desired levels.

In May 2015, to address staffing issues and following a wider professionalization initiative in which I placed civilian specialists in executive level leadership positions, I implemented a reorganization effort aimed at more efficiently recruiting and hiring special agents, Uniformed Division (“UD”) officers, and administrative, professional, and technical (“APT”) personnel. Both the Human Capital and Recruitment Divisions were closed and their collective responsibilities were redistributed to a number of new divisions. The Talent and Employee Acquisition Management Division (“TAD”) is one such division, and this reorganization has allowed its managers to focus exclusively on recruiting and hiring diverse applicants to fill special agent, UD, and APT positions. In the ensuing months, TAD has implemented a modern recruitment strategy, including embracing social media as a recruiting tool and budgeting fiscal year (“FY”) 2016 dollars towards an aggressive advertising campaign aimed at attracting qualified applicants to the agency. Further, in order to avoid bottlenecks and streamline the process of onboarding qualified applicants, the Secret Service is hiring contractors to serve as a stop-gap solution for reviewing hiring qualifications through TAD and monitoring background investigations through the Security Clearance Division (“SCD”) until an adequate number of APTs can be hired and trained to perform these functions.

Identifying our needs is a key element of supporting appropriate staffing levels because it drives our budget requests and justifications. In July, we completed the U.S. Secret Service Human Capital Plan for FY 2015 through 2019. This foundational document identifies our strategy for increasing staffing levels, by accounting for mission, training, and work/life balance requirements. Consistent with the results of the PMP, our analysis suggests that staffing levels must significantly increase over the next five years to support not only our mission requirements but also our employee training and work/life balance needs. We look forward to continuing our work with the Department and Congress to secure the financial resources necessary to support these enhanced staffing levels.

In response to the PMP recommendation that the Secret Service increase the number of personnel assigned to UD and the Presidential Protective Division (“PPD”), we worked closely with the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (“FLETC”) to schedule 10 special agent classes with 195 agents and 8 UD classes with 151 officers in FY15, a significant increase from years immediately preceding. Additionally, in FY 2016, we have again asked FLETC for increased numbers of trainee classes and hope to bring 12 special agent and 12 UD classes on board this year. Today, the recommended personnel increase to PPD is substantially complete, while efforts to reach net gains that approach recommended levels in UD continue in the face of greater challenges with respect to attrition and retention. Given this challenge, the Secret Service recently introduced a UD retention bonus and is engaged with the Department to develop additional programs designed to incentivize members of our talented workforce to refrain from separating prematurely from the agency.

A number of the Panel’s recommendations were directed to training, including conducting integrated training in realistic conditions, and an increase in the overall amount of training received by agents and officers assigned to protective functions. The Secret Service has worked diligently to implement integrated training between the various units assigned to the White House complex. Currently, 99% of UD officers and technicians have completed specially created “Emergency Action / Building Defense” training. Training for agents assigned to permanent protective details has also increased with special agents on the Presidential Protective Division receiving approximately 25% more training in FY 2015 than in FY 2014. In order to more realistically simulate the conditions in which our agents, officers, and technicians operate, our FY 2016 budget request includes funds directed to the design and construction of a more permanent White House training facility. Additionally, as staffing levels increase, the number of training hours that personnel assigned to UD and protective details receive will continue to increase accordingly. I firmly believe that, given the nature of the Secret Service’s integrated mission, the importance of the amount and quality of training provided to our workforce cannot be overstated.

Technology, Perimeter Security, and Operations

For the purposes of today’s hearing, I will speak generally to the Panel’s recommendations on technology and perimeter security. The Panel believed strongly, as do I, that operational issues related to the protection of the White House should not be the subject of a detailed public debate in their report or any other fora. I pledge to continue to provide you and your staffs with relevant information in the proper setting, at your request, as we move forward implementing these recommendations. My number one priority has been, and is, the protection of the President, Vice President, and their families.

To address longer-range future technology needs, the Secret Service will continue to partner with the Department’s Science and Technology Directorate, the Department of Defense, and our partners in the intelligence community to ensure we are researching, developing, and deploying cutting-edge technology.

The Secret Service has recognized the need for protective enhancements to the White House complex fence and is currently working with stakeholders to create a viable, long-term solution. This multi-phase project began with the formation of requirements that are guiding a formal study aimed at identifying various fence options. These requirements encompassed security concerns identified by the Secret Service, including efforts to delay intruders, as well as aesthetic and historic concerns put forward by the National Park Service (“NPS”).

Working at a highly accelerated pace with the National Capital Planning Commission (“NCPC”), the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, and the NPS, the Secret Service was able to not only secure approval for, but also complete the installation of an interim improvement to the fence that inhibits the ability of individuals to climb it. We also worked with NPS to complete a study to identify the options for permanent enhancements to perimeter security earlier this year. We are moving forward with the design phase of this project, and look forward to working with the NCPC to secure its approval in early 2016.

Leadership

The majority of the recommendations contained in the Report fell under the category of “Leadership.” Dynamic leadership that encourages open communication, rewards innovation, values flexibility, rejects insularity, and embraces personal accountability is vital to the agency’s long-term success. Based upon the Panel’s review, and my own assessments, I implemented several leadership changes in the Secret Service executive management team earlier this year. These changes were necessary to gain a fresh perspective on how we conduct business. The Panel’s recommendations on leadership have been incorporated into the strategic action plan referenced above.

The Panel recommended that the agency should promote specialized expertise in its budget, workforce, and technology functions. This assessment has been embraced, and, through a professionalization initiative, many executive positions formerly held by career law enforcement agents are now held by civilians with the training and experience necessary to effectively guide an organization of this size. First and foremost, we established a new Chief Operating Officer (COO) position, a non-law enforcement Senior Executive Service (SES) level position that is equivalent to the Deputy Director. Along with the creation of this position, we elevated the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to a directorate-level entity, created the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy (OSP), and split the Office of Human Resources and Training (HRT) into two directorate-level offices – the Office of Human Resources (HUM) and the Office of Training (TNG). By splitting HRT into two directorates, we are expecting to achieve greater focus on two key areas of concern for the PMP – staffing and training. In the revised organizational structure, the CFO, HUM, OSP, and the Chief Information Officer (CIO) are now aligned under the COO. We will continue to evaluate our organizational structure and make changes where it is necessary.

In addition to the structural changes, we used this opportunity to evaluate the skills required for directorate-level leadership positions to examine which would be best filled by non-law enforcement professionals. As a result of this examination, three of our ten directorates are led by non-law enforcement professionals, including the CFO, OSP and our Office of Technical Development and Mission Support (TEC). Further, we have enhanced our executive-level perspective by appointing non-law enforcement professionals to the SES-level roles of CIO, Deputy CIO, and Component Acquisition Executive (CAE), and are in the process of hiring for a newly-created SES-level Director of Communications position.

One of the principal responsibilities of the CFO has been to start the process for developing a zero-based budget as recommended by the Panel. This enormous undertaking is underway, and it is my hope that a mission-based budget will begin to be implemented in the FY 2018 budget cycle. Important steps have been taken in furtherance of this goal, including the development of the previously mentioned Human Capital Plan, and benchmarking Secret Service analytical capabilities, staff resources, and planning activities with comparable organizations.

A common theme within the Panel’s recommendations on leadership was the need for improved internal and external communication. I wholly adopt this view and firmly believe that improved communication is directly related to increased effectiveness and morale. I have affirmed this priority to the executive management team, and my expectation and message to them is that they do the same within their directorates. The agency’s priorities have been communicated externally through active engagement with the Department, the Administration, and Congress. This outreach will continue, and future operational and managerial decisions will be guided by these priorities.

Internally, I have personally visited many of our field offices, all former Presidential protective details, and conducted video-conferenced town hall meetings with the agency’s workforce. I have joined officers and agents at the White House complex and the Vice-President’s residence during their daily roll call. Earlier this year, I met with field supervisors for an Investigative Issues Focus Group to obtain a better understanding of the issues and concerns of the agents in the field. I plan to continue to have an open and honest conversation with members of our workforce about their concerns and discuss what I can do to address them.

As part of our outreach to employees, we conducted a Work/Life Assessment through a third-party contractor. The results of the 47 focus groups conducted under this effort provided us with a roadmap that allowed us to identify and begin to act upon the concerns of our workforce. In terms of delivering information, we have started sending important email messages to affected employees’ individual inboxes, which allows them much easier access to information than was previously available only via official messages accessible exclusively through a networked connection to the Secret Service email server. Additionally, we have started to leverage multimedia in our approach, including creating videos to communicate major policy changes and initiatives. Finally, just last week, we launched a new web-based platform, Spark!, which we expect will enhance two-way communication between the workforce and leadership by providing a forum to raise ideas, suggestions, and concerns. Employees should have every assurance that I will continue to work to share information and feel it is my responsibility to find solutions to the issues or concerns they voice.

Accountability is another issue that I believe the Panel was rightly focused on due to its effects on workforce morale and operational readiness. Even before the Panel issued its recommendations, as a result of a number of incidents involving personal conduct, my predecessors had already taken important steps to address these issues. These steps were intended to increase transparency, consistency, and fairness in disciplinary actions and included the following:

  • A Professionalism Reinforcement Working Group (“PRWG”) was initiated to conduct an objective and comprehensive review of the agency’s values and professional standards of conduct;
  • As a result of the PRWG, we created and published a comprehensive ethics guide, initiated an active schedule of ethics training, conducted integrity training, and implemented a new centralized disciplinary policy including a Table of Penalties (issued on 11/15/2013);
  • An “Inspection Hotline” was created and prominently displayed on the Secret Service’s Intranet Home page for employees to report misconduct to the Secret Service Office of Professional Responsibility or the DHS OIG and allow the agency or the Department to initiate swift investigative or administrative action;
  • Extensive training requirements for new supervisors were created. Training includes mandatory completion of the DHS leadership development program and the agency’s 40-hour, classroom-based Management and Emerging Leaders seminars. The requirements also include the assignment of a senior-level mentor to guide supervisors in the first year of their assignment;
  • The Chief Integrity Officer position was established, and we reinforced the importance of leadership and accountability with supervisors and provided developmental training to over 5,000 employees; and
  • The ITG created a Discipline Analysis Report for Calendar Year 2014, which we posted for all employees to view on our Intranet site. The posting of this report was the first time the Secret Service made this type of data available for review by the workforce and underscores our commitment to support a culture of transparency within our workforce. We made this decision in response to the concerns raised by the workforce regarding the consistency and fairness of our discipline process.

As recommended by the Panel, we firmly believe that we can further enhance and improve our performance by partnering with other organizations to collect their best practices and leverage their knowledge. We have greatly expanded our outreach efforts to learn from the Department of Defense and intelligence community, particularly in the areas of training and technology.

In the area of training, the Secret Service completed a number of joint training exercises with entities that included representatives from the military, federal, state, and local law enforcement and other protective agencies. Our employees benefited from the perspective of the Department of Defense community during training opportunities at their facilities. In other cases, like the security planning and preparation preceding the Papal visit last month, our employees had a chance to examine protective methodologies while observing security officials from the Vatican. These efforts were in addition to the opportunity to work with the security personnel who traveled with the world leaders that attended the 70th United Nations General Assembly.

The Secret Service also has benefited from both existing and newly established relationships within the interagency and intelligence communities and with the Department of Defense related to technology. A few examples where we are currently leveraging these relationships include the challenges with unmanned aerial vehicles (“UAV”) and gunshot detection.

While the above summarizes our activities in a number of areas, the totality of the actions we have taken since receiving the recommendations of the PMP is substantial. Secret Service employees at every level have been working hard not only to support our mission requirements, but also to establish the foundation for significant changes that will positively impact the Secret Service over the long-term.

Mission Excellence

In addition to working on the implementation of the Panel’s recommendations, one of my biggest priorities over the past year has been to restore the Secret Service’s reputation of mission excellence. Thousands of special agents, uniformed officers, and civilian staff successfully fulfill the integrated mission of this agency every day throughout the world.

It is important to remember that protection is only a portion of the integrated mission of the Secret Service. The expertise, maturity, and judgment special agents develop as criminal investigators conducting counterfeit currency, financial, or cyber crime investigations are essential to the extremely critical and demanding work of protecting our nation’s highest elected leaders, as well as those world leaders who travel to our country.

Just two months ago, members of the Secret Service came together from field offices across the country and throughout the world to successfully execute security plans at four, near-simultaneous NSSEs while also protecting President Xi Jingping of China during his first state visit to the United States. The planning for the four NSSEs spanned over eight months. This is the first time in the history of the agency – or this country - that such a feat has been accomplished.

The four NSSEs involved a monumental three city tour of Pope Francis to Washington, DC, Philadelphia, PA, and New York, NY, as well as the 70th United Nations General Assembly. Agency personnel coordinated security plans for the President, Vice-President, Pope, and approximately 160 heads of state and over 80 spouses.

In addition to honing personnel who are able to serve as specialists in the planning and staffing of protective operations, the integrated mission serves another purpose. Agents in the field also forge strong relationships with local law enforcement partners in investigations that pay dividends when we need their assistance during a protective visit. The Secret Service has long recognized that partnerships and cooperation act as force multipliers in both our protective and investigative missions. In this instance, with the need for critical support from state and local partners, these relationships proved to be invaluable.

Plans for the NSSEs in September involved bringing together 2,500 additional federal law enforcement officers from other federal agencies, the support of dozens of state and local law enforcement organizations, screening over one million people, and securing over 25 individual sites including the United States Capitol, Central Park and Madison Square Garden in New York, and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. At the same time, preparations were underway and continue to be developed for upcoming Presidential trips with multiple stops in Asia, Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidate protection, the two national political conventions, and Presidential and Vice-Presidential debate sites.

In addition to the four NSSEs, the Secret Service in FY 2015 conducted over 6,245 protective visits. Protective details and field agents ensured protection for over 5,981 domestic stops and approximately 264 international stops. The Secret Service Uniformed Division completed more than 677 magnetometer/X-ray operations assignments, and screened more than 2,742,620 members of the public. The Secret Service stopped approximately 2,847 weapons at magnetometer checkpoints from entering secure venues. The protective mission was also supported by over 6,617 protective surveys and approximately 136 protective intelligence arrests.

Additionally, Secret Service investigations continue to produce nationally and internationally significant results, much of them in strong coordination with the Department of Justice, other law enforcement agencies, and our public and private sector partners. Two recent cases exemplify the work our agents do daily, in order to protect our nation’s financial infrastructure.

In October, the Secret Service worked to apprehend and extradite yet another alleged cyber criminal—Sergey Vovnenko. Vovnenko is charged with conspiring to hack into the computer networks of individual users and corporations to steal log-in credentials and payment card data. According to the indictment, for almost two years, Vovnenko and his conspirators operated an international criminal organization that stole data, including user names and passwords for bank accounts and other online services, as well as debit and credit card numbers and personally identifiable information. To carry out this crime, Vovnenko allegedly operated a “botnet” of more than 13,000 computers infected with malicious computer software programmed to gain unauthorized access to other computers and to identify, store, and export information from hacked computers.

In the same week that Vovnenko appeared in federal court in Newark, the Secret Service, in coordination with its partners in the Peruvian National Police, arrested four suspects with ties to the production and transportation of counterfeit U.S. currency. At the time of the arrests, the suspects were traveling to the airport en route the United States and allegedly possessed close to $850,000 of counterfeit U.S. currency skillfully secreted in suitcase liners. According to Secret Service records, one of the particular types of counterfeit notes seized in this case has a passing history exceeding $34 million dating back to 2009. These are just two examples of the agency’s highly successful investigative work for which hard working personnel should be commended.

Conclusion

As I look back over the past year, I see an agency in the midst of reform. I wish that people could walk in my shoes for a day and see what I see – a workforce with an uncompromising sense of duty and commitment to its integrated mission.

Recently, the Secret Service lost a remarkable leader and true friend. Former Assistant Director Jerry Parr passed away earlier this month. Jerry was best known for his actions on March 30, 1981, and is widely credited with helping to save President Ronald Reagan’s life. As I reflected on his passing, I had the opportunity to review a speech he made to a graduating special agent training class in 1994. In that speech he spoke of culture. He said:

An organizational culture is a product of time, successes, sufferings, failures, and just plain hard work. After a hundred years or so, deep roots are developed, and a corporate memory evolves. While another agency can purchase persons, equipment, and technology similar to the Secret Service, it cannot buy this corporate memory. This is a priceless commodity.

As the men and women of this agency traverse these challenging times, I am heartened by the corporate memory of this great organization. And I am confident that through unparalleled dedication of our personnel, and the actions we are taking to reform and improve, the Secret Service will meet the standard of excellence that we have established over our history and which our nation’s leaders and the American people rightly expect of us.

Chairman Lankford, Chairman Perry, Ranking Member Heitkamp and Ranking Member Watson Coleman, this concludes my written testimony. I welcome any questions you have at this time.

Last Published Date: February 24, 2017
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