What is the Secret Service?The United States Secret Service is a federal investigative law enforcement agency that was created in 1865 as a branch of the U.S. Treasury Department to combat the counterfeiting of U.S. currency. In 1901, following the assassination of President William McKinley, the Secret Service was authorized with the task of protecting the president. Today, the Secret Service protects the president, vice president, and their families, the president-elect and vice president-elect, visiting heads of foreign states or governments and other distinguished foreign visitors to the United States, and official representatives of the United States performing special missions abroad. The Secret Service has served under the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. The headquarters is located in Washington, DC and there are more than 150 field offices located throughout the United States and abroad.
How does the Secret Service protect the president?Federal, state and local agencies assist the Secret Service in maintaining a safe environment for the president and his family. The Secret Service Uniformed Division, the Metropolitan Police Department, and the U.S. Park Police patrol the streets and parks nearby the White House in Washington DC. When the president travels, a team of Secret Service agents works with law enforcement in the host city to implement necessary security measures.
How long do former presidents receive Secret Service protection after they leave office?In 1965, Congress authorized the Secret Service to protect a former president and his/her spouse during their lifetime, unless they decline protection. In 1997, Congress enacted legislation that limits Secret Service protection for former presidents to 10 years after leaving office. Under this new law, individuals who are in office before January 1, 1997, will continue to receive Secret Service protection for their lifetime. Individuals elected to office after that time will receive protection for 10 years after leaving office. Therefore, President Clinton will be the last president to receive lifetime protection.
How many people are employed by the Secret Service?The Secret Service currently employs approximately 3,200 special agents, 1,300 Uniformed Division officers, and more than 2,000 other technical, professional and administrative support personnel. A person must be a United States citizen to apply for a position with the Secret Service. Applicants should have either a four-year college degree or a combination of education and criminal investigative experience, be in good physical condition and have a clear criminal record. For employment opportunities, visit the Secret Service employment page.
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