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    August 24, 2008

    Just how many secret service agents are there?

    Posted by: Andoni

    Secret_serviceI've always wondered how the Secret Service handles the increased manpower needs during presidential primary years. Every four years presidential candidates of both parties require protection during the primaries.

    During the three years of no presidential campaign, the Secret Service protects mainly the president and the vice president, as well as former presidents.

    In election years they have to expand greatly the number of people they guard. I was reminded of this yesterday when the media reported that the Secret Service had been dispatched to Senator Joe Biden's house after he had been designated the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee. I wondered about this in the middle of the primaries when there were at least 8 Democrats and at least 6 Republicans running, most of whom were getting protection.

    So how does the Secret Service do it? Does it hire new people every four years, then fire them immediately after the election? (Cruel). Does it go to a temp agency? (Scary.) Does the agency forbid vacations during this time and make all agents work double and triple shifts to in order to cover everyone? (Scary.) Do they thin out the coverage for the president and vice president to spread the available agents to the new candidates? (Even scarier.) Or is there such an abundance of agents that during the three years between elections, loads of agents are just hanging around the White House playing checkers waiting for the primary season? (Wasteful.) Or does the agency have people that can float back and forth between the Secret Service and some other government agency depending on need? (Are the auxiliary agents really up to snuff?)

    If anyone knows how the Secret Service handles the fluctuating manpower needs, please let me know. I'm losing sleep over this.



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    1. Tim C on Aug 24, 2008 7:43:48 PM:

      I suspect that during the Presidential election cycle the Secret Service puts a lot of its other missions on the back burner and pulls agents working the other mandates of the SS into protective service tasking.

      The SS, originally part of the Dept. of the Treasury, was originally established to combat counterfeiting of US currency and that job has grown into protecting and securing the financial and payment systems of the U.S. They investigate things like financial institution fraud, computer and telecom fraud, electronic funds transfers for criminal purposes and money laundering. This is in addition to the executive protection job, established after the assassination of Pres. McKinley. At the time, 1901,I think the Secret Service and the U.S. Marshals were the only federal law enforcement entities.

      Just a side note, the SS no longer gives lifetime protection to former Presidents. Due to a change in law, Bill Clinton will be the last President to have lifetime protection; George W. Bush and his successors will receive protection for 10 years after leaving office.

      So, if you feel like committing some wire fraud, you've probably already missed the best window, as there aren't a bunch of primary contenders, but their workload is essentially doubled, or more due to extensive travel schedules between now and election day, so you may still have a good shot.

    1. Wesmin on Aug 24, 2008 10:42:33 PM:

      Tim C is right on with all that, I was about to type up something similar, looks like he beat me to it. ;)

      If you want to check out more about the History of the Secret Service for yourself, you can find it here, as they have it listed on their website.


    1. Jack E Jett on Aug 25, 2008 4:23:54 PM:

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    1. ABC on Oct 19, 2008 6:53:50 PM:

      It's an itimation tactic to show that they are secret service agents. Preventing assassination attempts is a lot more important and effective than trying to catch the bad guy.

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    1. jimmie on May 1, 2011 5:23:23 PM:

      This website is the best for ss information http://www.secretservice.gov/

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