President Biden has appointed Kimberly Cheatle to be the next Secret Service director, calling her “a distinguished law enforcement professional with exceptional leadership skills." Biden said Cheatle “was easily the best choice to lead the agency at a critical moment for the Secret Service.” She is the second woman to lead the Secret Service, after President Obama chose Julia Pierson in 2013. Last month, Congress was told by Homeland Security’s inspector general that the Secret Service had lost texts about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol while erasing employees’ phones as part of a new protocol. The House committee investigating the attack subpoenaed the agency for its records, concerned that federal records laws could have been violated if the messages weren’t preserved.
DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari wrote that “because of the U.S. Attorney General guidelines and quality standards, we cannot always publicly respond to untruths and false information about our work.” Tackling this problem will be part of the next phase of Cheatle’s 25-year-plus career with the Secret Service. She has served numerous leadership roles, including becoming the first woman to serve in the role of assistant director of protective operations, in October 2019. Biden “came to trust her judgment and counsel” when she was on his security detail as vice president, he said. Cheatle is a senior director at PepsiCo North America, where she oversees facilities, personnel and business continuity.