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Published: Monday, April 08, 2019 @ 3:38 PM
— The internal shakeup at the Department of Homeland Security continued on Monday as the White House announced the departure of the head of the Secret Service, a development coming less than 24 hours after Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen suddenly announced her own resignation, and three days after President Donald Trump withdrew his nominee for immigration enforcement.
In a statement from Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House gave no reason for the departure of Director Randolph "Tex" Alles, who had been put in charge of the Secret Service by President Trump in 2017.
"Mr. Alles will be leaving shortly and President Trump has selected James M. Murray, a career member of the USSS, to take over as director beginning in May," Sanders said in a statement sent to reporters.
There were also reports on Monday that the jobs of other top officials at DHS were in jeopardy, including the number three official Claire Grady, who is technically in line to be the next Acting DHS Secretary.
Alles has served as USSS Director since April 25 2017. WH offiers no reason for his resignation. Alles went to USSS from his post of Acting Deputy Commissioner at @CBP. (Photo: USSS) pic.twitter.com/QYysw1fYkA— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) April 8, 2019
The move to oust the Secret Service chief came in the wake of last week's arrest of a Chinese woman at Mar-a-Lago - President Trump's Florida retreat - who was found to have a host of cell phones and electronic devices.
"The Secret Service does not determine who is invited or welcome at Mar-a-Lago; this is the responsibility of the host entity," the Secret Service said in a statement.
Democrats in the Senate quickly demanded that Alles testify about the incident, and whether it was at all related to his departure.
New: @SenSchumer wants outgoing Secret Service Head Tex Alles to testify Before Congress “about the potential security vulnerabilities at Mar-a-Lago involving a Chinese national arrested with malware, and other counterintelligence and national security threats.” pic.twitter.com/yhEO5Yn2X6— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) April 8, 2019
As for Secretary Nielsen, earlier in the day, Nielsen spoke briefly to reporters about her departure, praising President Trump and those who work at DHS.
She made no mention of any reasons for her sudden departure decision.
"I just want to thank the president again for the tremendous opportunity to serve this country," Nielsen told reporters.— POLITICO (@politico) April 8, 2019
"I'm forever grateful and proud of the men and women of DHS who work so hard every day...[and] I look forward to continuing to support them from the outside" pic.twitter.com/zkUlRnYVAb
Democrats in Congress raised their eyebrows immediately about the latest personnel moves at the Department of Homeland Security, noting the number of "Acting" officials at FEMA and other DHS agencies.
“The purge of senior leadership at the Department of Homeland Security is unprecedented and a threat to our national security,” said Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA).
Some Republicans also expressed concern about the departures from DHS.
“I am concerned with a growing leadership void within the department tasked with addressing some of the most significant problems facing the nation," said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI).
There were also reports that the head of legal immigration services (USCIS) might be in jeopardy - but conservative backers of the President were appealing to save the job of Lee Francis Cissna.
"This would not be "cleaning house", it would be burning the house down," tweeted illegal immigration critic Mark Krikorian, who has expressed his support for keeping Cissna.