Over the past several years, a number of security breaches and episodes of misconduct have prompted Congress to investigate the agency and recommend reforms.
After September 11,
the Secret Service took on new responsibilities, overseeing security at non-political events that could be targets for terrorists, like the Super Bowl. Even as the scope of its mission broadened, the agency did not receive adequate funding, according to a House Oversight Committee report.
Budget cuts, poor management and low morale led to an exodus of employees. Between 2011 and 2015, the number of full-time workers at the agency fell from 7,024 to 6,315, according to the House Oversight Committee.
July 5, 1865 -
The Secret Service is established as an investigative unit within the Department of Treasury. At the time, the country was awash with forged currency. Between one third and half of the money in circulation was counterfeit, according to some estimates.
1867 - The role of the agency expands to include investigations of mail theft, bootlegging, smuggling and fraud.
1894 - The Secret Service provides part-time protection for President Grover Cleveland after the agency discovers an assassination plot while probing a group of gamblers.
A White House detail is established to protect President William McKinley during the Spanish-American War. After the end of the war, Secret Service operatives continue to watch over the White House part time.
September 6, 1901 - President McKinley is shot and critically wounded during a reception in Buffalo, New York. McKinley dies eight days later and Vice President Theodore Roosevelt is sworn into office. The assassination prompts Congress to request full-time Secret Service protection for presidents.
1902 - The Secret Service establishes an around-the-clock White House detail to protect President Roosevelt.
1917 - Congress passes a law making it a federal crime to threaten the president.
November 1, 1950 - Secret Service officer Leslie Coffelt is gunned down while protecting President Harry S. Truman at the Blair House in Washington, D.C. He is the first and only Secret Service member to be killed in the line of duty guarding the president.
November 22, 1963 -
President John F. Kennedy is assassinated. According to the Warren Commission, a number of agents protecting Kennedy had been out late the night before the tragedy and some violated protocol by drinking alcohol.
Ultimately, the agents were not disciplined and the Warren Commission concluded that there was no misconduct.
1968 - After Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated, the Secret Service offers protection to major presidential candidates.
March 30, 1981 -
President Ronald Reagan is shot and injured by John Hinckley.
Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy is also hit, trying to block Hinckley as he fired at Reagan. Press Secretary James Brady and a Washington, D.C. police officer are wounded too.
1994 - Congress authorizes the Secret Service to help the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The agency provides forensic and technical assistance.
April 19, 1995 - Domestic terrorists bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, which housed a regional Secret Service office. Six agency employees are among the 168 people killed in the attack.
September 11, 2001 -
The Secret Service's New York field office in 7 World Trade Center is destroyed during the terror attacks, and Special Officer Craig Miller is killed.
March 2003 -
The Secret Service moves from the Treasury Department to the Department of Homeland Security. Despite its transfer to DHS, the agency continues to investigate financial crimes.
November 24, 2009 -
A publicity-seeking Virginia couple, Michaele and Tareq Salahi, sneak into a White House dinner. The uninvited guests finessed their way through a security checkpoint staffed by uniformed Secret Service officers, according to congressional testimony by the agency's director Mark Sullivan.
Sullivan apologizes for the breach, saying agents violated protocol by allowing the Salahis to enter without verifying that they were on the guest list.
2010-2015 - During a six-year period, 34,062 protective travel operations are planned and executed by the Secret Service, according to an agency spokesman. These travel operations protect more than 18 U.S. officials as they make public appearances, meet with world leaders and tour foreign nations.
April 2012 -
After allegations of misconduct involving heavy drinking and prostitutes, 11 Secret Service members are recalled to the U.S. from Colombia, where they had been working on security ahead of a visit by President Obama.
February-March 2013 -
Sullivan retires as director of the Secret Service. Julia Pierson takes his place. She is the agency's first female director.
May 2013 -
A senior agent from the presidential detail creates a fuss at a Washington D.C. hotel, trying to get back into a woman's room, fearing he left behind a bullet from his gun, according to the Washington Post. An internal review reveals the agent and another member of Obama's detail had sent inappropriate emails to a female coworker. One of agents is later fired and the other is reassigned.
October 3, 2013 -
An unarmed woman is shot and killed by a Secret Service agent and a Capitol police officer after she drives toward a security checkpoint near the White House, hits a barricade and speeds away. The woman, a 34-year-old mother battling postpartum depression, according to her sister. Her one-year-old daughter, seated in the back of the car during the chase, was unharmed.
In 2015, a news website, WorldNetDaily.com files a federal lawsuit against the Department of Justice after the agency declined to provide them with documents about the shooting. The case is still being litigated.
December 10, 2013 -
During a memorial service for Nelson Mandela in South Africa, a man with forged security credentials stands feet away from President Obama. The man pretends to be a sign language interpreter, taking the stage with Obama
and other world leaders. He later tells reporters he is mentally ill. The Secret Service faults South African event organizers for failing to vet the imposter.
September 19, 2014 -
A man with a knife jumps the White House fence and runs into the executive mansion, according to the Washington Post. In early accounts of the incident, the Secret Service claims the intruder didn't get past the portico doors.
Days later, the Post reveals the man actually made his way past the front entrance, through the main hall and into the East Room.
October 1, 2014 -
In the wake of the breaches, Pierson resigns as director of the Secret Service. Joseph Clancy, a former special agent from the President's security detail, steps in as interim director.
October 28, 2014 -
The New York Times reports that the DHS investigator overseeing a government probe into the Cartagena prostitute scandal quit his job after authorities in Florida caught him entering the suspected brothel.
December 2014 -
A government panel established after the White House intruder incident releases a report recommending more effective fencing around the executive mansion. The review also describes a leadership vacuum within the agency, along with a lack of focus and a need for more training. The panel recommends hiring 85 new agents and 200 uniformed officers to prevent future breaches.
The Secret Service's presidential detail oversees security for 290 domestic travel stops and 15 foreign stops, according to an agency spokesman. Agents protect Vice President Joe Biden
as he makes 435 domestic travel stops and 11 foreign stops.
January 14, 2015 -
The Washington Post reports that four high-ranking Secret Service executives are losing their jobs as the agency undergoes a change in leadership prompted by the breaches and scandals.
February 18, 2015 -
President Obama chooses Clancy to be the director of the agency, going against recommendations to bring in an outsider to help the Secret Service implement reforms.
March 4, 2015 -
Two Secret Service supervisors returning to the White House from a party unwittingly drive into a barricade and interfere with an investigation of a suspicious package. The supervisors were drinking at the party, according to a congressional review of the incident.
April 8, 2015 -
A senior supervisor is placed on administrative leave amid allegations he sexually assaulted a female colleague at the office after hours, the Washington Post reports.
September 2015 - The Secret Service is the lead agency coordinating security for Pope Francis' trip to the United States.
The pontiff's visit overlaps with the United Nations General Assembly, during which the Secret Service protects more than 160 foreign leaders. As the dual events unfold, agents and officers screen more than 1.4 million members of the general public and check nearly 100,000 bags.
September 25, 2015 -
The DHS's Office of the Inspector General releases a memorandum revealing that Secret Service employees improperly accessed the personnel file for Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who had once applied for a job with the agency. Chaffetz chairs the committee investigating the Secret Service. According to the memo, agency employees accessed Chaffetz's personal information approximately 60 times.
September 30, 2015 -
The DHS reports a senior manager at the Secret Service encouraged employees to leak Chaffetz's job application to retaliate against the congressman. "Some information that he might find embarrassing needs to get out. Just to be fair," the manager wrote in an email.
October 21, 2015 - The DHS issues an alert, warning Secret Service management that agents are overworked and fatigued.
According to the alert, two officers were discovered sleeping at their posts during an audit of security at protected buildings.
November 26, 2015 -
The Secret Service stops
a man draped in an American flag after he jumps a White House fence during a Thanksgiving celebration at the executive mansion.
December 2015 -
The House Oversight Committee issues a 438-page report, "United States Secret Service: An Agency in Crisis." The report examines the 2011 White House shooting episode, the misconduct in Colombia, the breach at the CDC and the incident involving the supervisors driving into a crime scene. The review lists six additional breaches that took place over the course of a single month, including a security lapse that enabled an uninvited guest to go backstage at a function and speak to the president.
The committee proclaims that the agency has failed to implement many of the reforms recommended by the government panel in 2014. In conclusion, the committee declares that "the agency's recent public failures are not a series of isolated events, but the product of an insular culture that has historically been resistant to change."