History of the Secret Service
When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in April of 1865, there was no Secret Service of government agency protecting the presidents. However, on July 5, 1865, as part of the Department of the United Sates Treasury, the Secret Service Division was formed. The Secret Service is one of the oldest federal law enforcement agencies in the country.
Originally, the Secret Service was formed to stop the spread of counterfeit money, but in 1901, it was asked to begin its protective mission following the assassination of another president, William McKinley. Before it began protecting the president, they also investigated fraud against the government, the Ku Klux Klan (secret society that focuses on white supremacy), smugglers, mail robbers, land frauds, and other infractions against federal laws.
At one time, the headquarters for the Secret Service was in New York City for four years between 1870 and 1874, but then returned to Washington, D.C. Though they began officially in 1901, the Secret Service informally began protecting President Grover Cleveland in 1894. In its first protection detail of Theodore Roosevelt, just two men were assigned to the job. By 1908, the agency began to protect newly elected Presidents prior to them taking office as well.
In 1915, the Secret Service began to investigate foreign espionage (spies) in the United States, and two years later the agency began to protect members of a president's immediate family. The Secret Service also became involved and investigated situations when the president was threatened in any way, by mail or in a speech. It was not until 1851 when the Vice-President of the U.S. began receiving protection.
Following the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, Congress authorized the protection of the widows of Presidents, minor children, and then later, all ex-Presidents and their minor children. In 1968, a presidential candidate, Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated, which then led to all major presidential and vice-presidential candidates to be protected by the Secret Service agents.
It was not until 1970 when the first female officer was hired by the agency, Phyllis Shantz, who later became a full-fledged agent along with four other women on December 15, 1971.
In 2003, the Secret Service was transferred from the Department of Treasury to the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which was established following the World Trade Center attacks in New York City in 2001.
As of 2008, after five years under the DHS, the Secret Service made about 29,000 arrests for counterfeiting, cyber investigations, and other financial crimes. In 2010, the creation of a second Electronic Crimes Task Force (ECTF), which was dedicated to fighting high-tech, computer-based crimes. In 2013, the first female director of the agency is named, Julia A. Pierson.
In summary, today the Secret Service does much more than protect the President, it also offers protection for major candidates, families of presidents and ex-presidents, and visiting dignitaries from other countries. In addition, they investigate counterfeiting crimes, financial fraud, cybercrime, and much more.
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