Elite Law Enforcement: 11 Fascinating Facts About the Secret Service

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Photo courtesy of pinterest.com.

The United States Secret Service is a highly elite federal law enforcement agency responsible for, among other things, protecting the President, Vice President, and their respective families. These skilled agents are the last line of defense in ensuring the safety of our nation’s leaders. Here’s eleven interesting facts about them.

They “See” Everything

In order to ensure the privacy of the President, Secret Service agents are not stationed inside the Oval Office. Rather, they stand right outside the door. To maintain their presence in the Oval Office, agents have installed weight sensitive pressure pads under the carpets. This way, they always know the precise location of the President.

Link to the FBI

During the first decade of the Twentieth Century, the Department of Justice borrowed Secret Service agents to perform investigations. Nine of these “borrowed” agents eventually formed the Bureau of Investigation, which later became the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Secret Offices

The Secret Service’s headquarters are located in a tan, brick nine-story building in Washington, D.C. The nondescript building is unmarked, and no public trash cans are allowed outside the office, due to the potential for hidden bombs. The HQ has armories, a joint operations center and their very own restaurant – the Silver Star Café.

Discreet Investigations

To carry out secret and private investigations within the four walls of the White House, the Secret Service “renovates” a room. During the renovations, the First Family is discreetly moved from the White House. Almost every President has renovated a room during their tenure, including President Obama, who conducted home improvements on the Treaty Room.

Killed in the Line of Duty

Like many in law enforcement, Secret Service agents put their life on the line on a daily basis. The first and only Secret Service agent ever killed in the line of duty (i.e. defending a president) was Leslie Coffelt, who was shot dead in Washington, D.C., while protecting President Harry S. Truman.

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Photo courtesy of abcnews.com.

New Department, Same Job

After President George W. Bush created the Department of Homeland Security, there were agency shifts occurring throughout the federal government. One such change occurred in March 2003 when the Secret Service moved from the Department of the Treasury to Homeland Security. The department change did not impact the agency’s mission statement.

Speaking of Mission

The Secret Service guards the President, Vice-President, their families, as well as former Presidents. They also have a litany of other roles in the protection arena including the investigation of 1,500 presidential death threats annually. Additionally, these agents investigate counterfeiting, computer fraud, identify theft and financial crimes.

Origins

The historically revered President Abraham Lincoln created the Secret Service on April 14, 1865. Unfortunately for Lincoln and the world, the 16th President was assassinated later that day same by the notorious John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln authorized the agency as an investigative and enforcement arm of the federal government to combat the recent proliferation of counterfeit United States currency.

Let’s Protect the President…

In 1901, President William McKinley was assassinated and soon thereafter, the Secret Service was given the full-time role of president protector.

…and Presidential Candidates

After presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, the Secret Service was given the detail of securing the safety of presidential and vice-presidential candidates. The earliest protection of a candidate arose during President Obama’s candidacy, when he was given full-time protection a year and a half before Election Day.

Spies NOT Among Us

Even though the CIA, NSA and FBI have all been infiltrated by spies, neither a traitor nor spy has ever been discovered to have penetrated the Secret Service.

 

It’s true what they say—you learn something new every day. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed researching it.

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About jchasenovelist

Published thriller author, criminologist, and blogger.
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