Sen. Charles E. Schumer's plans to call for Julia Pierson's resignation were spoiled when she beat him to the punch.
Before the New York Democrat could reach the television cameras to call for Pierson to resign from her post as head of the Secret Service, she was already gone.
His office had made known to reporters that he would be calling for Pierson's resignation Wednesday afternoon, but minutes later the Department of Homeland Security announced her departure.
Schumer praised her exit nonetheless.
"The administration did the right thing by moving quickly and decisively to bring new leadership to the Secret Service and by starting a thorough and independent investigation. The series of breaches has been serious and hard to explain. They need to get to the bottom of it quickly and fortunately, this process has now begun," he said in a statement.
Schumer wasn't the only one caught by surprise.
A news release with a letter from Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, calling on President Barack Obama to replace the Secret Service director didn't arrive until after the announcement.
"The next leader of the Secret Service — on both a temporary or permanent basis—needs to be a qualified, steadfast, and determined change agent," Thompson wrote.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy issued a second statement of the day after news that Pierson would step aside and Joseph Clancy would become acting director.
"Both the President and the public need and deserve a full accounting of the details, and as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I look forward to reviewing thoroughly the results of the inquiries by both the Department of Homeland Security and the panel of independent experts that will be appointed soon," the Vermont Democrat said. "Both of these reviews should be completed as quickly as possible and made available to the public."
Earlier, Leahy had said it was "premature" to make a decision on the agency's leadership until all of the facts were known.
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