U.S. Secret Service: An Examination and Analysis of Its Evolving Missions [April 16, 2012] [open pdf - 352KB]
"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 a March 2012 hearing on the FY2013 [Fiscal Year 2013] budget request for the U.S. Secret Service, Director Mark Sullivan highlighted the Service's increased staffing and traveling demands associated with presidential candidate protection, G-8 and NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organizations] Summits in Chicago, IL, and the Republican and Democratic conventions. 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. This report will be updated when congressional or executive branch actions warrant."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34603