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10 Things You You Probably Don't Know About The U.S. Secret Service

1800s | March 9, 2017

Since 1865, this organization has already existed - officially known as The United States Secret Service or USSS. The agents here are regarded way more than just bodyguards. Here are a couple things you probably didn’t know about them.

1. The USSS was founded on April 14, 1865 by the 16th president of the United States. However, when they started, they were not responsible for protecting the President.
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Ironically, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated while he was attending the theater by John Wilkes Booth on the same day the secret service was created.
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2. The original function of the USSS was to act as a treasury department. This was deemed necessary as counterfeit currency was a problem that threatened to sabotage the American economy.
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Later, when more attacks were directed towards the President, it was informally requested that the USSS also deal with the President’s protection.
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3. USSS agents began to watch over the President regularly after the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901.
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After the assassination of presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy by Sirhan Sirhan, USSS began to oversee the safety of presidential and vice-presidential candidates as well in 1968. When Barack Obama was running, he was safeguarded a year and a half prior to election day. This was the earliest in history.
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4. Despite handling thousands of death threats while managing to prevent any harm, among all USSS agent, only one died on the job.
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During 1950 when the White House was undergoing renovations, the current president Harry Truman was residing elsewhere. There was one night when two Puerto Rican nationalists stormed into the house to attempt an assassination.
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5. It may seem unbelievable, but the United States has never had, since the beginning, a traitor within their USSS.
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This is quite impressive compared to other organizations like the CIA, FBI, and NSA which have somehow been infiltrated by foreign spies.
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6. As usually depicted in movies and television, the secret service agents also use interesting code names as they refer to people and locations like the president, first lady, and white house.
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They call the White House as ‘Castle’ and the code name for Pentagon was ‘Calico.’ John and Jackie Kennedy were referred to as ‘Lancer and Lace,’ while Ronald and Nancy Reagan were called ‘Rawhide and Rainbow.’
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7. Even though their priority is to protect the president, they are way more than just body guards. The secret service agents have a ton of other responsibilities that are separated into two distinct groups.
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One of their function is regarding financial crimes. It involves monitoring counterfeit currency as well as handling investigations on major frauds. The USSS also responsible with identity theft, credit and computer fraud. Another group focuses on protecting the president and important people.
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8. With all those tasks, the USSS would need to have more than just a handful of people. In which case, there are over 6,500 employees.
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Of which 3,200 work in offices in the U.S and all around the world, then 1,300 agents in the Uniformed Division who are responsible for security and protection of the constituents in the White House.
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9. A handful of responsibilities and missions were assigned to them that some tasks were later taken or turned over to the FBI.
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The Department of Justice hired secret service agents to aid in national investigations. Nine agents subsequently formed the Bureau of Investigation which after sometime was named the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
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10. The list of people that the USSS is authorized by law to protect is very lengthy, and that’s not exclusive during the time of presidency. Agents can be assumed to protect former presidents and their families after they leave the office for up to 16 years.
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People are permitted to refuse protection, not including the President and Vice President. When Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State in 2009, she was guarded by the secret service while she was at home.
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