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7 Jul, 2022 23:42

Secret Service chief snaps up Big Tech job

James Murray is to head security at Snapchat after 27 years in government service
Secret Service chief snaps up Big Tech job

US Secret Service Director James Murray announced his retirement on Thursday, leaving the White House for Silicon Valley. After 27 years in government service, including the last three in charge of protecting two US presidents, Murray will take over as head of security at Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, at the beginning of August.

Murray “embodies the meaning of service over self, and protected the families of US Presidents like they were part of his own. We are incredibly grateful for his service to our country and our family,” President Joe Biden and his wife Jill said in a statement commenting on his departure.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said he “benefited tremendously” from having Murray as “a trusted advisor and highly regarded leader” at the DHS, which has overseen the Secret Service since 2003.

Murray took over the Secret Service in May 2019, under President Donald Trump. In his three years as director, Murray “contributed significantly to the agency’s continued professionalization and growth, and helped the agency navigate the unique challenges presented by the historic [Covid]-19 pandemic,” the Secret Service said in a statement.

Snap said the company was “thrilled” to have Murray as their head of security. When he reports to his new job on August 1, he will be in charge of security for the company’s 5,000 employees worldwide and report directly to co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel.

Murray joined the Secret Service in 1995 as a financial investigator, but transferred to the presidential protection branch in 2001. He was offered the job in April, but chose to wait till July in order not to be a “distraction from the president’s NATO summit, the Summit of the Americas out in Los Angeles and the G7 summit,” Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Daily Mail. He also wanted to wait until he could present the agency’s budget request to Congress, Guglielmi added.

The Secret Service was recently brought into the controversy around the 2021 riot at the US Capitol. During a televised hearing before the House January 6 committee at the end of June, Cassidy Hutchinson, aide to Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, claimed that Trump had attacked his head of security Bobby Engel after he refused to drive him to the Capitol that day. Hutchinson said she heard the story from deputy chief of staff Tony Ornato and that Engel did not dispute it at the time.

However, the Secret Service said Hutchinson’s claim was not true, and that both Engel and Trump’s driver were willing to testify under oath to that effect.