US Secret Service Director Alles to leave Trump administration

Secret Service director Randolph

Little mentioned in all of the debate over whether Alles was sacked - or (as he was claiming late in the afternoon) the director is leaving on his own - is his appointment was virtually forced on Trump in April 2017 by then-Secretary of Homeland Security (and future White House chief of staff) John Kelly.

Mr Alles was appointed to his position two years ago, and came into the job after serving time in the Marines.

"There is a near-systematic purge happening at the nation's second-largest national security agency", one senior administration official says. Alles reported to her.

An unnamed source told NBC News the decision to seek Alles' resignation was made almost two weeks ago, before a Chinese woman entered Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, prompting security questions.

Alles added: "It has been my great honor to serve as Director of the U.S. Secret Service".

The outgoing Secret Service head is expected to be replaced with career agent James Murray, who is expected to take over that role in May, according to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Alles' departure comes amid a shake-up of top staffers in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The Secret Service also came under scrutiny last week after a Chinese woman carrying electronic devices bluffed her way through security checks at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

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"I could not be prouder of and more humbled by their service, dedication, and commitment to keep our country safe from all threats and hazards", Nielsen tweeted.

Trump said that US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan will be acting secretary.

His appointment was set to fulfill the recommendations of a group of former senior government officials that reviewed the Secret Service in 2014 and found that it was an "insular agency" in need of an outsider to lead it.

The White House did not respond to requests for comment on the overhaul of the department.

Nielsen and Trump had often clashed over immigration issues during her 16 months in the job.

A source involved in the process pointed out that both Alles and Nielsen were brought into the administration by former White House chief of staff John Kelly.

Alles became the agency's head after a 26-year-old California man wearing a backpack managed to scale the fence along the southern side of the White House in March 2017 - the first such breach reported during Trump's presidency. Trump was so frustrated about the increase that he announced he would cut off USA aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

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