The U.S. Secret Service (USSS) is a U.S. federal law enforcement agency that is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. embers are divided among the Special Agents and the Uniformed Division. Until March 1, 2003, the Service was part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
The U.S. Secret Service has two distinct areas of responsibility:
- Treasury roles, covering missions such as prevention and investigation of counterfeiting of U.S. currency and U.S. treasury bonds notes and investigation of major fraud.
- Protective roles, ensuring the safety of current and former national leaders and their families, such as the President, past Presidents, Vice Presidents, presidential candidates, foreign embassies (per an agreement with the US State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) Office of Foreign Missions (OFM)), etc.
The Secret Service's initial responsibility was to investigate crimes related to the Treasury and then evolved into the United States' first domestic intelligence and counterintelligence agency. Many of the agency's missions were later taken over by subsequent agencies such as the FBI, ATF, and IRS.
The Secret Service has established 29 Financial Crimes Task Forces and 24 Electronic Crimes Task Forces (ECTF) strategically throughout the United States to aid in combating identity theft. These task forces are comprised of approximately 2000 state, local, private sector, and academia partners. These task forces are an integral part of Secret Service efforts to combat identity theft.
The agency combines the resources of academia; the private sector; and Federal, State, and Local law enforcement agencies to combat computer-based threats to the U.S. financial payment systems and critical infrastructures. In addition, these combined resources allow ECTF to identify and address potential cyber vulnerabilities before the criminal element exploits them. This proactive approach has successfully prevented cyber attacks that otherwise would have resulted in large-scale financial losses for the American public and U.S.-based companies or disruption of critical infrastructures.
The U.S. Secret Service:
- Participates in OAS-CICTE efforts.
- Participates in OAS-REMJA efforts.
- Assigns USSS personnel to DOJ to coordinate criminal investigations with INTERPOL.
- Investigates transnational cybercrimes using electronic crimes special agents assigned both domestically and internationally, including through the European Electronic Crimes Task Force.
- Provides training to International Law Enforcement Academies and forensics training to European partners through the European Electronic Crimes Task Force.
Sexual exploitation of children
The USSS provides forensic and technical assistance in matters involving missing and sexually exploited children through its Office of Investigations. The USSS’ Forensic Investigative Response and Support Team consists of a group of technical and forensic experts, including agents from the Electronic Crimes Special Agent Program, who are available to respond to requests from any law enforcement agency within the United States to perform forensic and technical examinations. Section 105 of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 requires USSS to develop a national network of electronic crime task forces to combat various forms of electronic crimes. In response to this requirement, USSS has established 31 regional Electronic Crimes Task Forces worldwide. The regional task forces work directly with other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in the area of child pornography as well as other electronic crimes.
Since online child pornography crime is not a core violation for the agency, it has pursued fewer investigations involving this crime than other crimes, such as counterfeiting. However, some USSS field offices with a background in these areas as well as digital forensic capabilities investigate these crimes.
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