United States Secret Service

United States Secret Service
Learn about the United States Secret Service

An Overview of the United States Secret Service

The United States Secret Service is a federal law enforcement agency headquartered in Washington, D.C., and more than 150 offices throughout the United States and abroad. The Secret Service was established in 1865, solely to suppress the counterfeiting of U.S. currency.

Today, the agency is mandated by Congress to carry out dual missions: protection of national and visiting foreign leaders, and conducting criminal investigations. The service was originally created to combat the counterfeiting of U.S. currency, which was a serious problem at the time. In fact, following the Civil War, it was estimated that one-third to one-half of the currency in circulation was counterfeit.

In 1901, following the assassination of President William McKinley in Buffalo, New York, the Secret Service was first tasked with its second mission: the protection of the U.S. President. Today, the Secret Service’s official mission is protection of the president, vice president and other high profile members of the government; and to conduct investigations into crimes against the financial infrastructure of the United States.

 The Secret Service is authorized to protect:

  • The president, the vice president, (or other individuals next in order of succession to the Office of the President), the president-elect and vice president-elect
  • The immediate families of the above individuals
  • Former presidents, their spouses, except when the spouse re-marries
  • Children of former presidents until age 16
  • Visiting heads of foreign states or governments and their spouses traveling with them, other distinguished foreign visitors to the United States, and official representatives of the United States performing special missions abroad
  • Major presidential and vice presidential candidates, and their spouses within 120 days of a general presidential election
  • Other individuals as designated per Executive Order of the President

National Special Security Events, when designated as such by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Recommended Books

Book Description – From the author of The Wizards of Langley, this definitive survey of the US intelligence community, covering its history, organizations, operations, and management in detail, is now fully updated with new material on homeland security, intelligence sharing, POW and detainee interrogation, and national intelligence organizations.

The role of intelligence in US government operations has changed dramatically and is now more critical than ever to domestic security and foreign policy. This authoritative and highly researched book provides a detailed overview of America’s vast intelligence empire–its organizations, its operations (from spies on the ground to satellites thousands of miles in space), and its management structure.

The Secret Service

This new edition of the definitive history of the Secret Service explains the 2004 Bush campaign’s political uses of the agency and the new challenges it faces as a branch of the Homeland Security Department, in a post-9/11 world. This book uncovers facts about the Agency’s role in such traumatic national events as the assassination of JFK and the shooting of President Reagan.

Included are revelations about presidential demands on the agency; the problems of alcoholism, divorce, and burnout among agents; and the Service’s inexplicable failure to develop profiles of potential assassins. This book assails the public image of the Secret Service as a highly professional apolitical organization, exposing the often-detrimental influence that politics exerts on the Agency.

For the President’s Eyes Only

In this impressive survey, British historian Andrew (Her Majesty’s Secret Service) assesses the extent to which U.S. intelligence has been influenced by the personalities and policies of our presidents.

To Be a U.S. Secret Service Agent

A helpful book for those who are interested in a behind-the-scenes look at life in this unique law enforcement agency. Discusses the history and inner-workings of the service.

Buy these and other books at Amazon.com.

More Information

For more information, visit the United States Secret Service website. Also, check out the U.S. Intelligence website for related information.

Michael Kissiah is the owner of Brandy Lane Publishing, LLC, which owns and operates a small portfolio of websites, including eInvestigator.com. Michael created eInvestigator.com more than 20 years ago after working as a private investigator in the state of Florida. Since that time, he has become an expert at how to find information online and has written over 1000 articles on topics related to the investigation industry. In addition, he is the author of the "Private Investigator Licensing Handbook", available at Amazon.com.


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