U.S. Secret Service: An Examination and Analysis of Its Evolving Missions [March 8, 2010]   [open pdf - 256KB]

"The U.S. Secret Service has two missions--criminal investigations and protection. Criminal investigation activities, which have expanded since its inception as a small anti-counterfeiting operation at the end of the Civil War, now encompass financial crimes, identity theft, counterfeiting, computer fraud, and computer-based attacks on the nation's financial, banking, and telecommunications infrastructure, among other areas. Protection activities, which have expanded and evolved since the 1890s, include the safety and security of the President, Vice President, their families, and other identified individuals and locations. [...] During an April 2008 hearing on the FY2009 budget request for the U.S. Secret Service, Members of Congress raised questions related to the missions and organizational location of the Service, and on December 2, 2009, the House Homeland Security Committee conducted a hearing on and questioned U.S. Secret Service presidential protection operations following a White House security breach. Are the two missions of the Service compatible and how should they be prioritized? Is the Department of Homeland Security the most appropriate organizational and administrative location for the Secret Service? These, and other policy questions, have been raised and addressed at different times by Congress and various administrations during the long history of the Service. Additionally, there has been increased interest in the Service due to the recent inaugural security operations and the protection of President Barack Obama. Some may contend that these and other questions call for renewed attention given the recent increase in demand for the Service's protection function (for example, see P.L. 110-326 enacted by the 110th Congress) and the advent of new technology used in financial crimes."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL34603
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