President Donald Trump fired Secret Service Director Randolph Alles on Monday, according to ABC News, which reported that a law enforcement official stated Alles was informed of the decision roughly two weeks ago. CNBC added, “Alles ‘will be leaving shortly,’ White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says, adding that President Donald Trump ‘has selected James M. Murray, a career member of the USSS, to take over as director beginning in May.'”
The officials also intimated that the decision to fire Alles, who reported directly to the head of the Department of Homeland Security, was part of the ongoing change of personnel at that department, and was not related to the alleged intrusion that occurred last weekend at Trump’s resort Mar-a-Lago. Another official reported that two more officials will leave their jobs imminently, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Francis Cissna and John Mitnick of the Office of the General Counsel.
On March 30, a Chinese woman named Yujing Zhang, 32, who reportedly possessed four cellphones, a laptop, a hard drive and a thumb drive, which contained “malicious malware,” passed security checkpoints at the resort and reached the main reception, then was arrested at Mar-a-Lago resort. According to The Washington Post, the criminal complaint filed by Secret Service agent Samuel Ivanovich stated, “Zhang was asked if the true member . . . was her father, but she did not give a definitive answer. Zhang additionally did not give a definitive answer when asked if she was there to meet with anyone. Due to a potential language barrier issue, Mar-a-Lago believed her to be the relative of member Zhang and allowed her access onto the property.”
Newsweek reported that the Secret Service issued a statement following the incident that read:
The Secret Service does not determine who is invited or welcome at Mar-a-Lago; this is the responsibility of the host entity. The Mar-a-Lago club management determines which members and guests are granted access to the property. This access does not afford an individual proximity to the President or other Secret Service protectees. While the Secret Service does not determine who is permitted to enter the club, our agents and officers conduct physical screenings to ensure no prohibited items are allowed onto the property.”
Laurence Leamer, who has authored a book about Mar-a-Lago, told the Post said that once Zhang got past the receptionist, “You can go anywhere. You’re in the living room. There’s no checkpoints once you’re in there.”
Prior to running the Secret Service, Alles had served as the acting deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection; he also served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, commanding Marine Aircraft Group 11 Third Marine Aircraft Wing and retired as a major general in the United States Marine Corps after serving in the Marines for 35 years.
The list of people the Secret Service is supposed to protect includes: the president, the vice president, (or other individuals next in order of succession to the Office of the President), the president-elect and vice president-elect; the immediate families of the above individuals; former presidents, their spouses, except when the spouse re-marries; children of former presidents until age 16; visiting heads of foreign states or governments and their spouses traveling with them, other distinguished foreign visitors to the United States, and official representatives of the United States performing special missions abroad, and major presidential and vice presidential candidates, and their spouses within 120 days of a general presidential election