The United States Secret Service (also USSS or Secret Service) is a federal law enforcement agency under the Department of Homeland Security charged with conducting criminal investigations and protecting the nation's leaders. Until 2003, the Secret Service was part of the Department of the Treasury, as the agency was originally founded to combat the then-widespread counterfeiting of US currency.
|United States Secret Service|
U.S Secret Service emblem
Secret Service Special Agent badge
U.S. Secret Service flag
|Common name||Secret Service|
|Formed||July 5, 1865|
|Annual budget||$2.2 billion (2019)|
|Parent agency|| U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2003–present)|
U.S. Department of the Treasury (1865–2003)
|Field and resident offices||116|
The Secret Service is mandated by Congress with two distinct and critical national security missions: protecting the nation's leaders and safeguarding the financial and critical infrastructure of the United States.
Ensures the safety of the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, the President's and Vice President's immediate families, former presidents, their spouses, and their minor children under the age of 16, major presidential and vice presidential candidates and their spouses, and foreign heads of state. The Secret Service also provides physical security for the White House Complex, the neighboring Treasury Department building, the Vice President's residence, and all foreign diplomatic missions in Washington, D.C. The protective mission includes protective operations to coordinate manpower and logistics with state and local law enforcement, protective advances to conduct site and venue assessments for protectees, and protective intelligence to investigate all manners of threats made against protectees. The Secret Service is the lead agency in charge of the planning, coordination, and implementation of security operations for events designated as National Special Security Events (NSSEs). As part of the Service's mission of preventing an incident before it occurs, the agency relies on meticulous advance work and threat assessments developed by its Intelligence Division to identify potential risks to protectees.
Safeguards the payment and financial systems of the United States from a wide range of financial and electronic-based crimes. Financial investigations include counterfeit US currency, bank & financial institution fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, illicit financing operations, and major conspiracies. Electronic investigations include cybercrime, network intrusions, identity theft, access device fraud, credit card fraud, and intellectual property crimes. The Secret Service is a key member of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) which investigates and combats terrorism on a national and international scale, as well as of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Task Force which seeks to reduce and eliminate drug trafficking in critical regions of the United States. The Secret Service also investigates missing and exploited children and is a core partner of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).
The Secret Service's initial responsibility was to investigate the counterfeiting of US currency, which was rampant following the American Civil War. The agency then evolved into the United States' first domestic intelligence and counterintelligence agency. Many of the agency's missions were later taken over by subsequent agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and IRS Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI).
The Secret Service combines the two responsibilities into a unique dual objective. The two core missions of protection and investigations synergize with the other, providing crucial benefits to special agents during the course of their careers. Skills developed during the course of investigations which are also used in an agent’s protective duties include but are not limited to:
Protection of the nation's highest elected leaders and other government officials is one of the primary missions of the Secret Service. After the 1901 assassination of President William McKinley, Congress also directed the Secret Service to protect the President of the United States.
The Secret Service is authorized by law to protect:
The law states that individuals other than the President, the Vice President (or other officer next in the order of succession to the Office of President), the President-elect, and the Vice President-elect may decline Secret Service protection, but the law neither allows nor disallows these excepted offices from declining.
When Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State in 2009, the Secret Service continued to protect her at home; however the Diplomatic Security Service protected her while she was performing her duties as the Secretary of State, including foreign travel.
The Secret Service investigates thousands of incidents each year of individuals threatening the President of the United States.
In the face of budget pressure, hiring challenges and some high-profile lapses in its protective service role in 2014, the Brookings Institution and some members of Congress are asking whether the agency's focus should shift more to the protective mission, leaving more of its original mission to other agencies.
The Secret Service's other primary mission is investigative; to protect the payment and financial systems of the United States from a wide range of financial and electronic-based crimes including counterfeit U.S. currency, bank & financial institution fraud, illicit financing operations, cybercrime, identity theft, intellectual property crimes, and any other violations that may affect the United States economy and financial systems. The agency's key focus is on large, high-dollar economic impact cases involving organized criminal groups. Financial criminals include embezzling bank employees, armed robbers at automatic teller machines, heroin traffickers, and criminal organizations that commit bank fraud on a global scale.
The USSS plays a leading role in facilitating relationships between other law enforcement entities, the private sector, and academia. The Service maintains the Electronic Crimes Task Forces, which focus on identifying and locating international cyber criminals connected to cyber intrusions, bank fraud, data breaches, and other computer-related crimes. Additionally, the Secret Service runs the National Computer Forensics Institute (NCFI), which provides law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges with cyber training and information to combat cybercrime.
With a reported one third of the currency in circulation being counterfeit at the time, the Secret Service was created on July 5, 1865 in Washington, D.C., to suppress counterfeit currency. Chief William P. Wood was sworn in by Secretary of the Treasury Hugh McCulloch. It was commissioned in Washington, D.C. as the "Secret Service Division" of the Department of the Treasury with the mission of suppressing counterfeiting. The legislation creating the agency was on Abraham Lincoln's desk the night he was assassinated. At the time, the only other federal law enforcement agencies were the United States Customs Service, the United States Park Police, the U.S. Post Office Department's Office of Instructions and Mail Depredations (now known as the United States Postal Inspection Service), and the United States Marshals Service. The Marshals did not have the manpower to investigate all crime under federal jurisdiction, so the Secret Service began investigating a wide range of crimes from murder to bank robbery to illegal gambling.
After the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901, Congress informally requested that the Secret Service provide presidential protection. A year later, the Secret Service assumed full-time responsibility for presidential protection. In 1902, William Craig became the first Secret Service agent to die while serving, in a road accident while riding in the presidential carriage.
The Secret Service was the first U.S. domestic intelligence and counterintelligence agency. Domestic intelligence collection and counterintelligence responsibilities were vested in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) upon the FBI's creation in 1908.
The Secret Service assisted in arresting Japanese American leaders and in the Japanese American internment during World War II. The U.S. Secret Service is not a part of the U.S. Intelligence Community.
In 1909, President William H. Taft agreed to meet with Mexican President Porfirio Díaz in El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, the first meeting between a U.S. and a Mexican president and also the first time an American president visited Mexico. But the historic summit resulted in serious assassination threats and other security concerns for the then small Secret Service, so the Texas Rangers, 4,000 U.S. and Mexican troops, BOI agents, U.S. Marshals, and an additional 250-man private security detail led by Frederick Russell Burnham, the celebrated scout, were all called in by Chief John Wilkie to provide added security. On October 16, the day of the summit, Burnham discovered a man holding a concealed palm pistol standing at the El Paso Chamber of Commerce building along the procession route. The man was captured and disarmed only a few feet from Díaz and Taft.
In 1950, President Harry S. Truman was residing in Blair House while the White House, across the street, was undergoing renovations. On November 1, 1950, two Puerto Rican nationalists, Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola, approached Blair House with the intent to assassinate President Truman. Collazo and Torresola opened fire on Private Leslie Coffelt and other White House Police officers. Though mortally wounded by three shots from a 9 mm German Luger to his chest and abdomen, Private Coffelt returned fire, killing Torresola with a single shot to his head. As of 2017, Coffelt is the only member of the Secret Service killed while protecting a US president against an assassination attempt (Special Agent Tim McCarthy stepped in front of President Ronald Reagan during the assassination attempt of March 30, 1981, and took a bullet to the abdomen but made a full recovery). Collazo was also shot, but survived his injuries and served 29 years in prison before returning to Puerto Rico in late 1979.
In 1968, as a result of Robert F. Kennedy's assassination, Congress authorized protection of major presidential and vice presidential candidates and nominees. In 1965 and 1968, Congress also authorized lifetime protection of the spouses of deceased presidents unless they remarry and of the children of former presidents until age 16.
The Secret Service Presidential Protective Division safeguards the President of the United States and his immediate family. They work with other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and the military to safeguard the President when he travels in Air Force One, Marine One and by limousine in motorcades.
Although the most visible role of the Secret Service today, personal protection is an anomaly in the responsibilities of an agency focused on fraud and counterfeiting.
In 1984, the US Congress passed the Comprehensive Crime Control Act, which extended the Secret Service's jurisdiction over credit card fraud and computer fraud.
In 1990, the Secret Service initiated Operation Sundevil, which they originally intended as a sting against malicious hackers, allegedly responsible for disrupting telephone services across the entire United States. The operation, which was later described by Bruce Sterling in his book The Hacker Crackdown, affected a great number of people unrelated to hacking, and led to no convictions. The Secret Service, however, was sued and required to pay damages.
In 1994 and 1995, it ran an undercover sting called Operation Cybersnare. The Secret Service has concurrent jurisdiction with the FBI over certain violations of federal computer crime laws. They have created 24 Electronic Crimes Task Forces (ECTFs) across the United States. These task forces are partnerships between the Service, federal/state and local law enforcement, the private sector and academia aimed at combating technology-based crimes.
In 1998, President Bill Clinton signed Presidential Decision Directive 62, which established National Special Security Events (NSSE). That directive made the Secret Service responsible for security at designated events. In 1999, the United States Secret Service Memorial Building was dedicated in DC, granting the agency its first headquarters. Prior to this, the agency's different departments were based in office space around the DC area.
The New York City Field office was located at 6 World Trade Center. Immediately after the World Trade Center was attacked as part of the September 11 attacks, Special Agents and other New York Field office employees were among the first to respond with first aid. Sixty-seven Special Agents in New York City, at and near the New York Field Office, helped to set up triage areas and evacuate the towers. One Secret Service employee, Master Special Officer Craig Miller, died during the rescue efforts. On August 20, 2002, Director Brian L. Stafford awarded the Director's Valor Award to employees who assisted in the rescue attempts.
Effective March 1, 2003, the Secret Service transferred from the Treasury to the newly established Department of Homeland Security.
The USA Patriot Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001, mandated the Secret Service to establish a nationwide network of ECTFs in addition to the one already active in New York. As such, this mandate expanded on the agency's first ECTF—the New York Electronic Crimes Task Force, formed in 1995—which brought together federal, state and local law enforcement, prosecutors, private-industry companies, and academia. These bodies collectively provide necessary support and resources to field investigations that meet any one of the following criteria: significant economic or community impact; participation of organized criminal groups involving multiple districts or transnational organizations; or use of schemes involving new technology.
The network prioritizes investigations that meet the following criteria:
Investigations conducted by ECTFs include crimes such as computer generated counterfeit currency; bank fraud; virus and worm proliferation; access device fraud; telecommunications fraud; Internet threats; computer system intrusions and cyberattacks; phishing/spoofing; assistance with Internet-related child pornography and exploitation; and identity theft.
On July 6, 2009, the U.S. Secret Service expanded its fight on cybercrime by creating the first European Electronic Crime Task Force, based on the successful U.S. domestic model, through a memorandum of understanding with Italian police and postal officials. Over a year later, on August 9, 2010, the agency expanded its European involvement by creating its second overseas ECTF in the United Kingdom.
Both task forces are said to concentrate on a wide range of "computer-based criminal activity," including:
As of 2010, the Service had over 6,500 employees: 3,200 Special Agents, 1,300 Uniformed Division Officers, and 2,000 technical and administrative employees. Special agents serve on protective details and investigate financial, cyber, and homeland security-related crimes.
In September 2014, the United States Secret Service came under criticism following two high-profile incidents involving intruders at the White House. One such intruder entered the East Room of the White House through an unlocked door.
Another incident involved a violation of procedure in which an armed security guard for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rode in the same elevator as President Barack Obama during a visit to that agency's headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, to discuss U.S. response to the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa. The guard used his phone to record a video of Obama and refused to comply with a request to stop. The guard had been arrested multiple times in the past, but had never been convicted of a crime.
Since the 1960s, Presidents John F. Kennedy (killed), Gerald Ford (twice attacked, but uninjured) and Ronald Reagan (seriously wounded) have been attacked while appearing in public. Agents on scene though not injured during attacks on Presidents include William Greer and Roy Kellerman. One of the agents was Robert DeProspero, the Special Agent In Charge (SAIC) of Reagan's Presidential Protective Division (PPD) from January 1982 to April 1985. DeProspero was deputy to Jerry Parr, the SAIC of PPD during the Reagan assassination attempt on March 30, 1981.
The Kennedy assassination spotlighted the bravery of two Secret Service agents. First, an agent protecting Mrs. Kennedy, Clint Hill, was riding in the car directly behind the presidential limousine when the attack began. While the shooting continued, Hill leapt from the running board of the car he was riding on and jumped onto the back of the President's moving car and guided Mrs. Kennedy from the trunk back into the rear seat of the car. He then shielded the President and the First Lady with his body until the car arrived at the hospital.
Rufus Youngblood was riding in the vice-presidential car. When the shots were fired, he vaulted over the front seat and threw his body over Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson. That evening, Johnson called Secret Service Chief James J. Rowley and cited Youngblood's bravery. Youngblood would later recall some of this in his memoir, Twenty Years in the Secret Service.
The period following the Kennedy assassination was the most difficult in the modern history of the agency. Press reports indicated that morale among the agents was "low" for months following the assassination. The agency overhauled its procedures in the wake of the Kennedy killing. Training, which until that time had been confined largely to "on-the-job" efforts, was systematized and regularized.
The Reagan assassination attempt also highlighted the bravery of several Secret Service agents, particularly agent Tim McCarthy, who spread his stance to protect Reagan as six bullets were being fired by the would-be assassin, John Hinckley Jr. McCarthy survived a .22-caliber round in the abdomen. For his bravery, McCarthy received the NCAA Award of Valor in 1982. Jerry Parr, the agent who pushed President Reagan into the limousine, and made the critical decision to divert the presidential motorcade to George Washington University Hospital instead of returning to the White House, was also honored with U.S. Congress commendations for his actions that day.
Arrest and indictment of Max Ray Butler, co-founder of the Carders Market carding website. Butler was indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, after his September 5, 2007 arrest, on wire fraud and identity theft charges. According to the indictment, Butler hacked over the Internet into computers at financial institutions and credit card processing centers and sold the tens of thousands of credit card numbers that he acquired in the process.
Operation Firewall: In October 2004, 28 suspects—located across eight U.S. states and six countries—were arrested on charges of identity theft, computer fraud, credit-card fraud, and conspiracy. Nearly 30 national and foreign field offices of the U.S. Secret Service, including the newly established national ECTFs, and countless local enforcement agencies from around the globe, were involved in this operation. Collectively, the arrested suspects trafficked in at least 1.7 million stolen credit card numbers, which amounted to $4.3 million of losses to financial institutions. However, authorities estimated that prevented loss to the industry was in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The operation, which started in July 2003 and lasted for more than a year, led investigators to identify three cybercriminal groups: Shadowcrew, Carderplanet, and Darkprofits.
Arrest and indictment of Albert Gonzalez and 11 individuals; three U.S. citizens, one from Estonia, three from Ukraine, two from the People's Republic of China, one from Belarus, and one known only by an online alias. They were arrested on August 5, 2008, for the theft and sale of more than 40 million credit and debit card numbers from major U.S. retailers, including TJX Companies, BJ's Wholesale Club, OfficeMax, Boston Market, Barnes & Noble, Sports Authority, Forever 21, and DSW. Gonzalez, the main organizer of the scheme, was charged with computer fraud, wire fraud, access device fraud, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy for his leading role in the crime.
The Secret Service special agent position is highly competitive. In 2011, the Service accepted less than 1% of its 15,600 special agent applicants. While the Secret Service has always been a popular career path for former military and law enforcement personnel, the Service seeks to hire agents from a diverse range of backgrounds in fulfilling its dual mission, including accountants, lawyers, scientists, engineers, and foreign language specialists.
At a minimum, a prospective agent must be a U.S. citizen, possess a current valid driver's license, be in excellent health and physical condition, possess visual acuity no worse than 20/60 uncorrected, correctable to 20/20 in each eye, and be between the ages of 21 and 37 at the time of appointment. However, eligible veterans may apply after age 37. In 2009, the Office of Personnel Management issued implementation guidance on the Isabella v. Department of State court decision: OPM Letter.
Prospective agents must also qualify for a TS/SCI (Top Secret / Sensitive Compartmented Information) clearance, and undergo an extensive background investigation, to include in-depth interviews, drug screening, medical diagnosis, and full-scope polygraph examination.
Special agents receive training in two locations, totaling approximately 7 months. The first phase, the Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP) is conducted at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) at Glynco, GA, lasting approximately 12 weeks. The second phase, the Special Agent Training Course (SATC) is conducted at the Secret Service Academy, James J. Rowley Training Center (JJRTC), just outside Washington, D.C. in Laurel, Maryland, lasting approximately 18 weeks.
A typical special agent career path, depending upon performance and promotions that affect individual assignments, begins with the first six to eight years on the job assigned to a field office. Applicants are directed to list their office location preference during the application process, and upon receiving a final job offer, usually have several locations to choose from. After their field office experience, agents are usually transferred to a protective assignment where they will stay for three to five years. Following their protective assignment, many agents return to a field office for the rest of their careers, or opt for a headquarters based assignment located in Washington, D.C. During their careers, agents also have the opportunity to work overseas in one of the agency's international field offices. This typically requires foreign language training to ensure language proficiency when working alongside the agency's foreign law enforcement counterparts.
Special agents are hired at either the GS-07 or GS-09 grade level, depending on individual qualifications and/or education. Agents are eligible for promotion on a yearly basis, from GS-07, to GS-09, to GS-11, to GS-12, to GS-13 (GS-08 and GS-10 grade levels are skipped). The full performance grade level for a journeyman agent is GS-13, which a GS-07 and GS-09 agent may reach in as little as four and three years respectively. GS-13 agents are eligible for competitive promotion to supervisory agent positions, which compasses the GS-14, GS-15, and SES grade levels. GS-13 agents who wish to remain as senior field agents continue to advance the GS-13 step level, capping at GS-13 Step-10.
Special agents also receive Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP), a type of premium overtime pay which provides them with an additional 25% bonus pay on top of their salary, as agents are required to work an average workweek of 50 hours as opposed to 40. Therefore, an agent living in the Greater New York City area will earn an annual salary of approximately $76,431 (GL-09), $89,491 (GS-11), $107,263 (GS-12), $127,550 (GS-13), $150,725 (GS-14), and $166,500 (GS-15).
Moreover, due to the nature of their work and unique among their federal law enforcement counterparts (e.g. FBI, DEA, ATF, ICE), Secret Service agents are regularly eligible for scheduled overtime pay (SOT pay) and enjoy a raised statutory pay cap of $192,300 per year (Level II of the Executive Schedule) as opposed to $166,500 per year (Level IV of the Executive Schedule).
The Secret Service Uniformed Division is a security police similar to the U.S. Capitol Police or DHS Federal Protective Service and is in charge of protecting the physical White House grounds and foreign diplomatic missions in the Washington, D.C. area. Established in 1922 as the White House Police, this organization was fully integrated into the Secret Service in 1930. In 1970, the protection of foreign diplomatic missions was added to the force's responsibilities, and its name was changed to the Executive Protective Service. The name United States Secret Service Uniformed Division was adopted in 1977.
Secret Service Uniformed Division officers provide protection for the White House Complex, the Vice President's residence, the main Treasury Building and Annex, and foreign diplomatic missions and embassies in the Washington, D.C., area. Additionally, Uniformed Division officers travel in support of presidential, vice presidential and foreign head of state government missions. Officers may, as their careers progress, be selected to participate in one of several specialized units, including the:
Secret Service special officers (not to be confused with Uniformed Division Officers) are federal agents who work within the Special Agent Division and perform a wide range of security functions and support assignments as part of the protective mission for the Secret Service. Whereas special agents alternate between protection and investigative assignments, special officers are hired only to work protection details. They must have a familiarity with all phases of protective responsibilities sufficient to assist in protective movements, cover designated security posts and drive protective vehicles.
Assignments may include:
Special officers are sworn law enforcement officers, and are authorized to make arrests in connection with their official duties. They are classified as federal agents but use "special officer" as their official title much the same way as Deputy US Marshals are special agents but use the title "Deputy US Marshal".
Newly appointed special officers must successfully complete eight (8) weeks of intensive training at the Special Officer Basic Training Course at the Secret Service James J. Rowley Training Center just outside Washington, D.C. The training includes courses such as Criminal Law, Laws of Arrest, Search and Seizure, Control Tactics, Civil Liability, Emergency Medicine, Basic Water Safety, Firearms and Weapons Handling, Radio Communications, Emergency Driving and Physical Fitness Training.
Investigative Protection Officer "IPO" is a new title reclassification of the Special Officer position. Whether the two will coexist is unknown. Both positions have the same duties but IPOs have full law enforcement authority and their full performance level is a GL-11 instead of GL-9, which is a Special Officer.
Since the agency's inception, a variety of weapons have been carried by its agents.
Initially the firearms were privately procured and there was little, if any, standardization. In the 1930s, the USSS issued the Colt M1911A1 pistol in .45 ACP caliber. In the 1950s and 1960s, Special Agents carried the Smith & Wesson Model 36 and Colt Detective Special .38-Special revolvers.
Following President Kennedy's assassination, USSS Special Agents were authorized to carry the .357 Magnum Smith & Wesson Model 19 revolver. Between 1981 and 1991, the Secret Service issued the Smith & Wesson Model 19 and the Smith & Wesson Model 66 .357 Magnum revolvers, with 2.5-inch barrels all the way up to the 4-inch-barreled models, loaded with hollow-point rounds. By 1992, the standard issue weapon became the SIG Sauer P228 9mm pistol. This weapon stayed in service through 1999.
The Secret Service replaced the Thompson submachine gun with the Uzi submachine gun in the 1970s. Uzis that the Secret Service used have slightly shorter-than-standard barrels so they could to fit inside the standard size Samsonite briefcases that concealed them. They phased out the Uzi in the mid 1990s and replaced it with the H&K MP5. The Secret Service was the last Federal agency to use the Uzi. The Counter-Assault Team used the M4 carbine from the early 1990s until 2006.
Agents and officers are trained on standard shoulder weapons that include the FN P90 submachine gun, the 9mm Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun, and the 12-gauge Remington 870 shotgun. The agency has initiated a procurement process to ultimately replace the MP5 with a 5.56mm rifle.
Special Operations Division (SOD) units are authorized to use a variety of non-standard weapons. The Counter Assault Team (CAT) and the Emergency Response Team (ERT) both use the 5.56mm Knight's Armament Company SR-16 CQB assault rifle in an 11.5" configuration. CAT also deploys 12 gauge Remington 870 MCS breaching shotguns. Uniform Division technicians assigned to the Counter Sniper (CS) team use custom built .300 Winchester Magnum-chambered bolt-action rifles referred to as JARs ("Just Another Rifle"). These rifles are built with Remington 700 long actions in Accuracy International stocks and use Schmidt & Bender optics. CS technicians also use the 7.62mm KAC SR-25/Mk11 Mod 0 semi-automatic sniper rifle with a Trijicon 5.5× ACOG optic.
Special Agents and Special Officers of the Secret Service wear attire that is appropriate for their surroundings, in order to blend in as much as possible. In most circumstances, the attire of a close protection shift is a conservative suit, but it can range from a tuxedo to casual clothing as required by the environment. Stereotypically, Secret Service agents are often portrayed wearing reflective sunglasses and a communication earpiece. Often their attire is customized to conceal the wide array of equipment worn in service. Agents wear a distinctive lapel pin that identifies them to other agents.
The attire for Uniformed Division Officers includes standard police uniforms or utility uniforms and ballistic/identification vests for members of the counter-sniper team, Emergency Response Team (ERT), and canine officers. The shoulder patch of the Uniformed Division consists of the U.S. coat of arms on white or black, depending on the garment. Also, the shoulder patch is embroidered with "U.S. Secret Service Uniformed Division Police" around the emblem.
When transporting the President in a motorcade, the Secret Service uses a fleet of custom-built armored Cadillac Parade Limousines, the newest and largest version of which is known as "The Beast". Armored Chevrolet Suburbans are also used when logistics require such a vehicle or when a more low profile appearance is required. For official movement the limousine is affixed with U.S. and presidential flags and the presidential seal on the rear doors. For unofficial events the vehicles are left sterile and unadorned.
The Secret Service has agents assigned to 136 field offices and field agencies, and the headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Service's offices are located in cities throughout the United States and the world. The offices in Lyon and The Hague are respectively responsible for liaison with the headquarters of Interpol and Europol, located in those cities.
In April 2012, an incident involving the president's security detail received international press attention. The incident involved 11 agents and personnel from four branches of the U.S. military; they allegedly engaged prostitutes while assigned to protect the U.S. President at the 6th Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia. As of April 24, 2012, nine employees had resigned or retired.
After the incident was publicized, the Secret Service implemented new rules for its personnel. The rules prohibit personnel from visiting "non-reputable establishments" and from consuming alcohol less than ten hours before starting work. Additionally, they restrict who is allowed in hotel rooms.
A few weeks later, stories emerged of Secret Service agents hiring strippers and prostitutes prior to Obama's 2011 visit to El Salvador.
In 2015, two inebriated senior service agents drove an official car into the White House complex and collided with a barrier. One of the congressmen in the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that investigated that incident was Jason Chaffetz. In September 2015, it was revealed that 18 Secret Service employees or supervisors, including Assistant Director Ed Lowery, accessed an unsuccessful 2003 application by Chaffetz for employment with the agency and discussed leaking the information to the media in retaliation for Chaffetz' investigations of agency misconduct. The confidential personal information was later leaked to The Daily Beast. Agency Director Joe Clancy apologized to Chaffetz and said that disciplinary action would be taken against those responsible.
'In the Secret Service,' [McCarthy] continued, 'we're trained to cover and evacuate the president. And to cover the president, you have to get as large as you can, rather than hitting the deck.'
William Clarke Bordley (born January 9, 1958) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher. Bordley was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014. In 2011, he was named Vice President for Major League Baseball Security investigations.Brian L. Stafford
Brian L. Stafford was the 20th Director of the United States Secret Service. Preceded by Lewis C. Merletti, he was sworn in on March 4, 1999 by the then Secretary of the Treasury, Robert E. Rubin. He was succeeded by W. Ralph Basham.Clint Hill (Secret Service)
Clinton J. Hill (born January 4, 1932) is a former United States Secret Service agent who served under five U.S. presidents; from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Gerald Ford. Hill is best known for his notable act of bravery while in the presidential motorcade on November 22, 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.During the assassination, Hill ran from the car immediately behind the presidential limousine, leaped onto the back of it and shielded Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and the stricken president with his body as the car raced to Parkland Memorial Hospital. This action was documented in the Zapruder film. Since the death of Nellie Connally in September 2006, Hill is the last surviving person who was in the presidential limousine that day.Dave Hoffmann
Dave Hoffmann (born July 24, 1970) was an All-American linebacker at the University of Washington, drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 1993 NFL Draft and played for the Pittsburgh Steelers. After his football career, he became a member of the United States Secret Service, protecting presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush as well as vice presidents Al Gore and Dick Cheney.Director of the United States Secret Service
The Director of the United States Secret Service is the head of the United States Secret Service, and responsible for the day-to-day operations.
The Secret Service is a federal law enforcement agency that is part of the United States Department of Homeland Security. The Service is mandated by Congress to carry out a unique dual mission: safeguarding the financial and critical infrastructure of the United States, and protecting the nation’s leaders.The Director is appointed by, and serves at the pleasure of the President of the United States, and is not subject to Senate confirmation. The Director reports to the Secretary of Homeland Security, and operates with the general directions thereof. Prior to March 1, 2003, the Secret Service was a part of the United States Department of the Treasury.James Joseph Rowley
James Joseph Rowley (October 14, 1908 – November 1, 1992) was the head of the United States Secret Service between 1961 and 1973, under Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon.
Rowley was born in the Bronx, New York to James J. Rowley and Bridget Theresa McTeague. His parents were Irish immigrants who met in New York City and were married in Manhattan.Rowley began working for the Secret Service in 1938 during the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration, after first joining the FBI in 1936. On June 18, 1964, Rowley provided testimony to the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of John F. Kennedy. After the assassination, Secret Service training was regularized and systematized. The James J. Rowley Training Center in Beltsville, Maryland is named after him.
Rowley was a Roman Catholic. His brother Francis, was a Catholic priest who belonged to the largest all-male religious order in the Roman Catholic Church, the Jesuits.
Rowley died of congestive heart failure at his home in Leisure World, Maryland.James M. Murray
James M. Murray is an American law enforcement officer who is due to become Director of the U.S. Secret Service in May 2019.John Wilkie
John Elbert Wilkie (1860 – December 13, 1934) was an American journalist and Chief of the United States Secret Service from 1898 to 1911.Joseph Clancy (Secret Service)
Joseph "Joe" P. Clancy (born 1955) is an American law enforcement official. He was the 24th Director of the United States Secret Service. Clancy previously served as head of the agency’s presidential protection division until 2011, when he retired and became director of corporate security for Comcast.Julia Pierson
Julia Ann Pierson (born July 21, 1959) is an American former law enforcement official. She served as the 23rd Director of the United States Secret Service. Pierson became director on March 27, 2013. Amid a series of security lapses involving the agency, Pierson resigned on October 1, 2014.Mark J. Sullivan
Mark J. Sullivan was the Director of the United States Secret Service from May 31, 2006 to March 27, 2013. Sullivan succeeded W. Ralph Basham and was sworn in as the 22nd Director of the Secret Service on May 31, 2006. He was succeeded by Julia Pierson on March 27, 2013.National Special Security Event
A National Special Security Event (NSSE) is an event of national or international significance deemed by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to be a potential target for terrorism or other criminal activity. These events have included summits of world leaders, meetings of international organizations, presidential nominating conventions and presidential inaugurations. NSSE designation requires federal agencies to provide full cooperation and support to ensure the safety and security of those participating in or otherwise attending the event, and the community within which the event takes place, and is typically limited to specific event sites for a specified time frame.
An NSSE places the United States Secret Service as the lead agency in charge of the planning, coordination, and implementation of security operations for the event, the Federal Bureau of Investigation in charge of intelligence, counterterrorism, and investigation of major criminal activities associated with the event, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in charge of recovery management in the aftermath of terrorism, major criminal activities, natural disasters, or other catastrophic incidents following the event. Like the FBI and FEMA, the Secret Service brings in local law enforcement, public safety, and military experts to assist with developing the plan, and give them the special guidance and training to operate within the security plan. NSSE designation is not a funding mechanism, and currently there is no specific federal "pot of money" to be distributed to state and local governments within whose jurisdiction NSSEs take place.Randolph Alles
Randolph D. "Tex" Alles (born 1954) is the 25th Director of the United States Secret Service. He previously served as the acting deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as well as in the United States Marine Corps, in which he reached the rank of major general.Robert W. Bates
Robert Wayne Bates (born May 1941) is a horticultural nurseryman in Forest Hill in south Rapides Parish, Louisiana, who was an agent of the United States Secret Service under U.S. Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, and Gerald R. Ford, Jr. He also provided security for Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, former First Lady Mamie Eisenhower and former United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.Bates was reared by a single mother in "a shotgun house with a dirt-floored kitchen." He graduated from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. In 1965, he joined the Secret Service and was posted at the White House. He provided security for the Johnson and Nixon daughters while they were college students. He was with Nixon in the 1972 trip to China. He ended his Secret Service career in 1976 as the agent in charge in the field office in Shreveport in northwestern Louisiana. Bates described the people he protected as "just people, like you and me" who obtain high political office and must provide for the security of the nation.After his eleven years in the Secret Service, Bates relocated to Forest Hill, where he operates Robert Bates Nursery, in the commercial nursery complex south of Alexandria. One of Bates' fellow nurserymen in Forest Hill was the late Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Clyde C. Holloway, a Republican who earlier held Louisiana's 8th congressional district seat from 1987 to 1993, since disbanded.
On November 16, 1991, Bates was the Republican candidate for the District 29 seat in the Louisiana State Senate. He lost to the incumbent Democrat Joe McPherson, then of Pineville. McPherson received 23,428 votes (56.8 percent) to Bates' 17,819 (43.2 percent). Three other Democratic candidates, including state Representative Charles R. Herring of Alexandria and singer Jay Chevalier, had been eliminated in the primary election held earlier on October 19.In 2005, Bates was inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield. Holloway defeated Joe McPherson in a special election in 2009 for the Public Service Commission. Holloway has not been inducted into the Hall of Fame.Roy Kellerman
Roy Herman Kellerman (March 14, 1915 – March 22, 1984) was a U.S. Secret Service agent who was assigned to protect U.S. President John F. Kennedy when the latter was assassinated on November 22, 1963. In his reports, later testimony and interviews, Kellerman outlines in detail his role in the immediate aftermath of the assassination, controlling key evidence of the crime and guiding doctors during the official autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital.Steve Jackson Games, Inc. v. United States Secret Service
Steve Jackson Games, Inc. v. United States Secret Service, 816 F. Supp. 432 (W.D. Tex. 1993), was a lawsuit arising from a 1990 raid by the United States Secret Service on the headquarters of Steve Jackson Games (SJG) in Austin, Texas. The raid, along with the Secret Service's unrelated Operation Sundevil, was influential in the founding of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.W. Ralph Basham
William Ralph Basham, Jr. (born November 17, 1943) has served at the head of four of the eight U.S. Department of Homeland Security agencies, including as Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the largest federal security force in the United States government, Director of the United States Secret Service, Director of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and as one of the first employees as Chief of Staff at the Transportation Security Administration.
Upon leaving government service in April 2009, Basham founded Command Consulting Group, a Washington, D.C.-based international advisory firm which provides security advisory services to government clients and works with companies with security related products and services to develop and market products to federal security agencies.
In 2008, Basham was conferred the rank of Distinguished Executive by former U.S. President George W. Bush.
In October 2013, Basham was awarded the Founder's Medal for Lifetime Achievement by the Border Patrol Foundation.William Greer
William Robert Greer (September 22, 1909 – February 23, 1985) was an agent of the U.S. Secret Service, best known as being the driver of President John F. Kennedy's presidential limousine in the motorcade through Dealey Plaza in Dallas on November 22, 1963, when the president was assassinated.William P. Wood
William Patrick Wood (March 11, 1820 – March 20, 1903) was the first Director of the United States Secret Service. He was the son of James Wood and Margaret Turner.
He was sworn in on July 5, 1865 by Secretary of the Treasury Hugh McCulloch. He then headed the newly formed Secret Service for four years until he resigned in 1869. Wood was a veteran of the Mexican–American War and was once Keeper of the Old Capitol Prison. He was considered the best in battling financial crime, and within a year of its founding, the Secret Service had arrested over 200 counterfeiters. He died on March 20, 1903, and was buried in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
Agencies under the United States Department of Homeland Security
Science and Technology Directorate
|Intelligence and Analysis|
|Department of Commerce|
|Department of Defense|
Health and Human Services
|Department of Justice|
|Department of State|
|Department of Transportation|
|Department of the Treasury|
|United States Congress|
|Other federal law|