The United States Secret Service ("USSS" or "Secret Service") is a federal law enforcement agency under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.Until 2003, the Service was part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, as the agency was originally founded to combat the then-widespread counterfeiting of U.S. currency.
The U.S. Secret Service has two distinct areas of responsibility:
Investigations – Safeguarding the payment and financial systems of the United States from a wide range of financial and computer-based crimes, including but not limited to counterfeit U.S. currency, identity theft, access device fraud, cyber crimes, network intrusions, ransomware, business email compromise, bank fraud, and illicit financing operations. The Secret Service is a key member of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) which investigates and combats terrorism on a national and international scale. The Service is also authorized to assist in investigating missing and exploited children.
Protection – Ensuring the safety of the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, the President’s and Vice President’s immediate families, former presidents, their spouses and their minor children under the age of 16, foreign heads of state, major presidential and vice presidential candidates and their spouses, and events designated as National Special Security Events. As part of the Secret Service’s mission of preventing an incident before it occurs, the agency relies on meticulous advance work and threat assessments developed by its Intelligence Division to identify potential risks to protectees.
The Secret Service's initial responsibility was to investigate the counterfeiting of U.S. currency, which was rampant following the U.S. Civil War. The agency then evolved into the United States' first domestic intelligence and counterintelligence agency. Many of the agency's missions were later taken over by subsequent agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and IRS Criminal Investigation Division (IRS).
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