Thursday, September 28

Secret Service Director James Murray to retire

James Murray, the director of the Secret Service for the last three years, will retire at the end of the month, the agency announced Thursday.

Murray spent 27 years in the Secret Service and has served as its director since May 2019. He has led the agency through the coronavirus pandemic, with a number of agents contracting the virus during the 2020 presidential campaign, and through the tumultuous transition after the 2020 election, including the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

“Director Jim Murray has led a long and distinguished career in federal and military service for three decades, including the last three years as Director of the United States Secret Service,” President Biden and first lady Jill Biden said in a statement. “Jim embodies the meaning of service over self, and protected the families of U.S. Presidents like they were part of his own. We are incredibly grateful for his service to our country and our family.”

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas praised Murray as an “exceptional leader” whose advice he has relied on during his tenure atop the Department of Homeland Security.

“Under Director Murray’s leadership, the Secret Service has reinforced its stature as the preeminent protective agency in the world and has increased in sophistication and scope its investigative capabilities to meet an increasingly dynamic threat landscape,” Mayorkas said in a statement.

In a news release announcing his retirement, the agency credited Murray with guiding the Secret Service “through eight National Special Security Events and nearly 20,000 international and domestic protective operations. During that time, the agency also recovered approximately $4.2B in fraud loss and prevented an estimated $8.1B in additional losses at the hands of criminal enterprise.”

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Prior to joining the Secret Service as a special agent, Murray spent five years as an investigator with the Department of Transportation.

Murray coordinated Secret Service protection for the 2016 presidential election and the transition that followed.

The agency has been in the spotlight in recent weeks over the events of Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob of former President Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol to halt the certification of Biden’s electoral victory.

Cassidy Hutchinson, a former Trump White House aide, testified last week that Trump was so enraged about being told he could not join his supporters at the Capitol that he lunged for the steering wheel of his vehicle and then at Robert Engel, the special agent in charge for Secret Service that day.

The Secret Service has acknowledged Trump wanted to join his supporters at the Capitol, something the former president has indicated publicly, but the agency has denied Hutchinson’s account, which she heard second-hand, that Trump lunged at the wheel or at Engel.

Hutchinson also testified that she heard Trump complain that Secret Service was not letting individuals known to be carrying weapons into his rally on the Ellipse for his speech on Jan. 6.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Thursday there was “no relation” between the testimony to the House Jan. 6 panel and the timing of the director’s announcement.

“This has been in talks for several months,” Jean-Pierre said, adding that Murray was expected to join the private sector.

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Updated 4:12 p.m.

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