In addition to protecting the First Family, the Secret Service also provides security for the vice president, the president elect, the vice president elect, former presidents and their families, presidential candidates, visiting heads of state and representatives of the United States performing special missions overseas.
After September 11, 2001,
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.
Timeline: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.
1898 - 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. He is the first and only Secret Service member to be killed in the line of duty guarding the president.
1968 - After 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 Jr.
Secret Service Agent Timothy McCarthy is also hit, trying to block Hinckley as he fires at Reagan. Press Secretary James Brady and a Washington police officer are also wounded.
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.
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.
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.
October 1, 2014 - In the wake of several security 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.
December 2014 - A government panel established after a White House intruder incident in September 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.
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.
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."
November 2015-November 2016 -
The Secret Service secures
3,220 2016 campaign stops and screens over three million people during the busy election cycle.
November 15, 2016 -
The Secret Service conducts the largest seizure of counterfeit currency in the agency's history
. Thirty million counterfeit US dollars and 50,000 euros are discovered in Lima, Peru.
March 16, 2016 - A laptop with highly sensitive information,
including floor plans and the evacuation protocol for Trump Tower, is stolen from a Secret Service agent's car in Brooklyn.
April 13, 2017 -
Two law enforcement officials tell CNN that two Secret Service officers were fired
over their handling of a March 10 incident in which a White House fence jumper made it to just steps from a main door to the executive mansion.
April 8, 2019 -
The White House announces a "career member" of the Secret Service, James Murray, has been chosen to be its new director
, following the news that Trump is removing Alles as director, amid a shakeup at the Department of Homeland Security. Murray is sworn in on May 1.