Mark Sullivan, the director of the Secret Service is retiring after nearly 30 years with the agency, said President Barack Obama, noting that during Sullivan's tenure the agency protected 5 first families -- "including my own."
Since becoming director in 2006, Sullivan "has led the agency with incredible dedication and integrity," Obama said.
"The Secret Service is best known for protecting our nation's leaders, but every day they also protect the American people," Obama said. "From securing large events such as presidential Inaugurations to safeguarding our financial system, the men and women of the agency perform their mission with professionalism and dedication. That is a testament to Mark and his steadfast leadership, which will be missed. Michelle and I wish him all the best."
Sullivan, who started with the service in 1983 as a special agent and rose through the ranks, saw his tenure blemished by scandals involving two White House State Dinner party crashers, and reports of agents cavorting in Colombia with prostitutes.
But Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Sullivan "devoted his life to the safety of our First Families, our nation's leaders, and the public at large."
"I am deeply grateful for his contributions to DHS, the Secret Service and our country, and I congratulate him on his exceptional career," she said.
Sullivan began his Secret Service career as a Special Agent assigned to the Detroit field office , after serving for three years as a special agent in the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
From there, he served in the Secret Service’s Fraud Division, twice in the Presidential Protective Division, the Office of Protective Operations, the Columbus Resident Office, the Counterfeit Division, the Vice-Presidential Protective Division, and Office of Human Resources and Training, before being named deputy Director in January 2006. He was sworn in as the 22nd director on May 31, 2006.
Napolitano said Sullivan "achieved a multitude of key leadership benchmarks, including promoting the Secret Service Uniformed Division Modernization Act, which enhanced the ability of the Service to recruit and retain Uniformed Division officers in their critical role of protecting the nation's highest elected officials; initiating the Former Presidents Protection Act, which amends the federal criminal code to eliminate certain limitations on the length of Secret Service protection for former presidents and their spouses and children; as well as overseeing the complete overhaul of the Secret Service IT Modernization and Operation Mission Support, which enhanced White House security. He also led the effort to create the National Computer Forensic Institute in Hoover, Ala. and established numerous overseas field offices to build trusted partnerships between all levels of law enforcement. Director Sullivan earned the Distinguished Presidential Rank Award in 2005 and 2010."