Whatever the challenges, Reid has earned a steady stream of promotions. After spending time as a special agent on the presidential protective detail, Reid joined management as a supervisor in the Miami field office in 2004, overseeing administrative duties. In 2007, she was summoned back to Washington, where she had two prominent jobs in the next four years.
She was special agent in charge of the protective intelligence and assessment division, which ensures that threats to the president and other officials are identified and carefully monitored, and she was deputy special agent in charge of the presidential protective division, overseeing the White House complex and access to it in the middle of Obama’s term. That included overseeing protection for the East Wing, coordinating events and regular contact with first lady Michelle Obama and her family.
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Reid’s most recent promotion, this year, was to the highly coveted position of top boss of the Miami office, a division of more than 150 employees that oversees the South America region and rivals the Los Angeles and New York offices in prestige among national bureaus.
Her move prompted grumbling among some longer-serving white supervisors that she was unqualified, according to people with knowledge of the situation, including a former agent who left recently. A lot of the “good old boys” were not happy, said the former agent, who, because of the sensitive nature of personnel decisions, asked not to be identified.
This month, Reid headed to Cartagena to serve as liaison between the dozens of agents and officers representing several divisions of the Secret Service and the other local governments and U.S. agencies involved in preparing for the president’s visit, Secret Service officials said.
Even under ideal circumstances, such a job is a headache of tight scheduling within a vast operation that includes several hundred personnel in a foreign country. But some said they could have predicted — before Reid took the call that set in motion the frantic chain of events ahead of Obama’s arrival in Cartagena — that this is how she would have performed.
“She’s the ultimate boss for that whole region,” one agent said. “You did it in her house, so you better know she’s going to come down hard.”
Staff writer Ed O’Keefe and research editor Alice Crites contributed to this report.