U.S. Secret Service: An Examination and Analysis of Its Evolving Missions [January 8, 2013] [open pdf - 365KB]
"The U.S. Secret Service (USSS), a distinct entity within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has two missions--criminal investigations and protection. Criminal investigation activities encompass financial crimes, identity theft, counterfeiting, computer fraud, and computer-based attacks on the nation's financial, banking, and telecommunications infrastructure. The protection mission is the most prominent of the two, covering the President, Vice President, their families, former Presidents, and major candidates for those offices, along with the White House and the Vice President's residence (through the Service's Uniformed Division). Protective duties of the Service also extend to foreign missions in the District of Columbia and to designated individuals, such as the Homeland Security Secretary and visiting foreign dignitaries. Separate from these specific mandated assignments, USSS is responsible for certain security activities such as National Special Security Events (NSSEs), which included the inaugural ceremony of President Obama, the major party quadrennial national conventions, as well as international conferences and events held in the United States. […] This report frames potential policy questions concerning the Service's mission and organization through an examination of the USSS history and its statutory authorities, mission, and present activities within DHS. Additionally, Appendix B provides information on direct assaults on and threats to Presidents, Presidents-Elect, and candidates."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34603