Monday, February 06, 2006

Shhh...It's a Secret (Service!)

I was attempting to watch Chasing Liberty last night, a movie about the first daughter and how she longs to be a regular girl without the secret service dogging her every step. Don't bother renting it unless you're a teen. Anyway, the U.S. Secret Service is an organization that interests me. So, here's some Monday trivia about it.

I had thought until recently that their only job was to protect current and past presidents and VIPs, like foreign dignitaries. But that's not the case. According to the official Secret Service website:

The Secret Service has primary jurisdiction to investigate threats against Secret Service protectees; counterfeiting of U.S. currency or other U.S. Government obligations; forgery or theft of U.S. Treasury checks, bonds or other securities; credit card fraud; telecommunications fraud; computer fraud; identify fraud; and certain other crimes affecting federally insured financial institutions.

Their origins really had to do with money, and the protection of the presidents didn't come into play until much later.

1865 The Secret Service Division began on July 5, 1865 in Washington, D.C., to suppress counterfeit currency.

1902 The Secret Service assumed full-time responsibility for protection of the President. Two operatives were assigned full time to the White House Detail.

Agents must go through a heck of a lot of training, but that's not surprising.

Secret Service agents receive the finest law enforcement training in the world. New agent trainees are initially sent to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Glynco, Georgia, where they are enrolled in the Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP). This 9-week course, designed to train new federal investigators in such areas as criminal law and investigative techniques, provides a general foundation for the agency-specific training to follow.

Upon successful completion of CITP, new agent trainees attend the 11-week Special Agent Training Course at the Secret Service Training Academy, Beltsville, Maryland. This course focuses on specific Secret Service policies and procedures associated with the dual responsibilities of investigations and protection. Trainees are provided with basic knowledge and advanced application training in combating counterfeiting, access device fraud and other financial criminal activity, protective intelligence investigations, physical protection techniques, protective advances and emergency medicine. The core curriculum is augmented with extensive firearms training, control tactics, water survival skills and physical fitness.

A neighbor of mine moved away last year, and it wasn't until after they were gone that I found out the husband was a Secret Service agent. Silly me, I got a little thrill from that bit of knowledge. Like, oooh, that guy is trained to use guns and stuff like in the movies! It all of a sudden made sense that he was so taciturn and macho. Though the downside is I heard that when he was away on assignment, his wife couldn't be told any information at all and that she'd just be biting her nails the whole time he was gone. That's gotta be tough.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

HI Kate,
I was going beck and checking your blog for WW story reviews when I came across the mention of Chasing Liberty.
I have a very difficult time breaking apart the WW story stories but I have to tell you that Chasing Liberty is an example of the perfect romance plot. It even has a secondary romance between the two Secret Service Agents. Forget that its a teen movie, just study the internal and external plots.


12:47 PM  

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