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Head of US Secret Service to quit job: White House

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"United States Secret Service director Randolph 'Tex' Alles... will be leaving shortly and President Trump has selected James M. Murray, a career member of the USSS, to take over as director beginning in May," Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

[WASHINGTON] The head of the US Secret Service, which guards President Donald Trump and visiting heads of state, is stepping down, the White House said Monday in the administration's latest sign of turbulence.

"United States Secret Service director Randolph 'Tex' Alles... will be leaving shortly and President Trump has selected James M. Murray, a career member of the USSS, to take over as director beginning in May," Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

No reason was given for Mr Alles' sudden departure. However, the former Marine general quickly denied that he had been pushed out.

"No doubt you have seen media reports regarding my 'firing,'" he said in a statement. "I assure you that this is not the case, and in fact was told weeks ago by the Administration that transitions in leadership should be expected across the Department of Homeland Security."

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This appeared aimed at shooting down speculation in the US media that Mr Alles may have been axed in connection to a security incident in March at Mr Trump's Florida golf club and weekend retreat.

In the unusual episode, an unauthorised woman got past security carrying Chinese passports and numerous electronic devices, including phones and a thumb drive allegedly found to contain malware.

Other reports said Mr Alles could have lost his job due to some twist in the reportedly often heated internal political battles over White House staffing.

On Sunday, Mr Trump announced via tweet the departure of Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who has spearheaded his controversial policies on trying to stop illegal immigrants and asylum seekers from entering the United States.

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

The Secret Service's main job is to provide security for the president and vice-president and their families, as well as former presidents and visiting heads of state. It also coordinates the securing of buildings such as the White House and foreign embassies.

AFP