U.S. Secret Service: An Examination and Analysis of Its Evolving Missions [Updated October 23, 2009] [open pdf - 244KB]
"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. In March 2003, the U.S. Secret Service was transferred from the Department of the Treasury to the Department of Homeland Security as a distinct entity. Prior to enactment of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296), the U.S. Secret Service had been part of the Treasury Department for over 100 years. 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. 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? [...]. This report will be updated when congressional or executive branch actions warrant."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34603