President Joe Biden said Wednesday he is appointing Kim Cheatle as the new director of the Secret Service as it faces scrutiny over missing text messages related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Cheatle will succeed James Murray, who announced his retirement last month before the text message debacle became public.
In a statement Wednesday, Biden lauded Cheatle’s “long and distinguished career” at the agency, where she was the first woman to be the director of protective operations. In her 27 years with the Secret Service, she also served on Biden’s security detail when he was vice president.
“She is a distinguished law enforcement professional with exceptional leadership skills, and was easily the best choice to lead the agency at a critical moment for the Secret Service,” Biden said. “She has my complete trust, and I look forward to working with her.”
Cheatle currently oversees personnel and facilities at PepsiCo North America.
Her appointment comes at a challenging time for the agency, which the House Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed last month after it learned the agency was missing text messages from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021.
Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesperson for the Secret Service, has denied allegations that the agency deleted messages.
Murray, meanwhile, has insisted that the agency is cooperating with the Jan. 6 committee, saying in a statement a week after the subpoena was issued that the Secret Service was “finalizing dates and times for our personnel to make themselves available to the Committee for follow up inquiries.”