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-Spencer L. Simons, former Director, O'Quinn Law Library and Associate Professor of Law



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Federal Statutes and the Secret Service


Popular attention has recently focused on a series of Secret Service mishaps, culminating in the resignation of the Secret Service Director following yesterday’s hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.  Given the media’s focus on the Secret Service’s execution of its duties, readers may be interested in specific details regarding what those duties may be.  The following resources may be of interest to these readers:

The Secret Service was created by 18 U.S.C. § 3056A.  Its current powers, authorities and duties are enumerated in 18 U.S.C. § 3056. 
Originally founded to investigate counterfeiting, the Secret Service’s mission expanded to include presidential protection following the assassination of President McKinley.  It has since been further expanded to include duties such as protecting candidates for office, conducting counterterrorism activities and guarding government buildings.

A detailed history of the statutes empowering the Secret Service may be found in this recent Congressional Research Service report.

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