Mon 19 Oct, 2009 02:28 pm
WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Rising death threats against U.S. President Barack Obama are prompting a debate about the Secret Service's resources and duties, officials say.
Some within the Secret Service are advocating that the presidential protection service be relieved of its duties to investigate financial crimes such as counterfeiting as it tries to cope with a new wave of anti-government fervor, The Boston Globe reported Sunday.
WASHINGTON - The unprecedented number of death threats against President Obama, a rise in racist hate groups, and a new wave of antigovernment fervor threaten to overwhelm the US Secret Service, according to government officials and reports, raising new questions about the 144-year-old agency’s overall mission.
I have wondered for decades what the Secret Service was doing with it's involvement in counterfeiting. Wildly diverging missions within one group. Almost as if the FBI were given a role in highway safety.
The agency is 144 years old, but has the protection of the president always been its mission? In the early years, wasn't it the Army had the responsibility of guarding the president? I thought that when the Secret Service was originally organized 144 years ago (I was just a lad then), it was primarily to fight counterfeiting of the relatively new paper currency.
I seem to remember that protecting the president only came in after Lincoln's assassination.
edit: Duh... he was assassinated 144 years ago. He established the secret service just before he was assassinated.
OK, presidential protection seems to have started in 1901, after McKinley's
In 1865 the Secret Service was established as a specialized branch of the Department of the Treasury to combat this threat to the economy. As a result, the widespread use of fraudulent banknotes was seriously curtailed, and the organization’s mandate was expanded to include the policing of other federal crimes, including bootlegging, mail theft, and smuggling.
During the 1890s the Secret Service occasionally was called upon to guard the president, a duty that did not become permanent until 1901.
Sources: "U.S. Secret Service."/ police." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online