On This Day - 5th July 1865: US Secret Service Founded

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the creation of US Secret Service. Although today this body encompasses an incalculable number of purposes, of which we can probably only guess half, it was originally intended solely for the suppression of counterfeit currency. At the time of its creation around a third of currency in circulation was counterfeit and it was decided that a specific body was needed to deal with the problem. It was a tremendous success and so it was not long before the Secret Service’s roles were expanding to cover fraud, big scale robberies and investigations into the Ku Klux Klan. 

US Secret Service Flag
By FOX 52 (SVG) United States Secret Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Nowadays, one of the most visible roles the secret service covers is the personal protection of the President, Vice President and their families however, it took 45 years and several assassinations before this office was requested of them. They have not been completely successful of course, JFK’s assassination in 1963 springing quickly to mind. However, they have foiled countless other plots upon Presidents’ lives, notably in 1981 when Special Agent Tim McCarthy stepped in-between President Reagan and the line of fire, taking a bullet and saving the President’s life. Given their famed thoroughness with regards to security it is not surprising that they have now become an essential part of American political life. We Brits may roll our eyes slightly at their rigidity and determination to assert their power however, it is no doubt that it is effective which is why I am going to leave this blog here before I say the wrong thing and risk deportation! 

© Isla Robertson 2017