United States Secret Service

The Secret Service was founded by Abraham Lincoln in 1865 to suppress counterfeiting – a huge problem in America at that time, something like a third of currency was reported to be counterfeit. It became a distinct organization within the Treasury Department in 1883, and began “informal part-time protection of President Cleveland” in 1894. The Secret Service assumed formal responsibility for the protection of the president in 1902. In 1908, several Secret Service agents were transferred to the Department of Justice, forming the beginnings of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Over the ensuing years, protective services became more and more extensive, as well as investigative operations against espionage, fraud, etc.

In 2003, the Secret Service was transferred away from the Department of the Treasury to the newly-created Department of Homeland Security. Between 2003 and 2008, the Secret Service made nearly 29,000 criminal arrests for counterfeiting, cyber investigations and other financial crimes, 98% of which resulted in convictions, and seized more than $295 million in counterfeit currency. Today, the Service is still doing both roles: treasury and protection.

All counterfeits sent to the Secret Service headquarters, in Washington, are examined under a microscope, scrutinized in ultraviolet light and otherwise dissected to reveal their flaws and shortcomings, as well as the printing techniques used in their manufacture. This information is then cross-checked with a database of all known counterfeits.

See here for more about its relationship with other govt institutions.

From the Secret Service website:

The Secret Service maintains a working relationship with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the Federal Reserve System to ensure the integrity of the nation’s currency.

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Mihm, Stephen. “No Ordinary Counterfeit.” New York Times. 23 July 2006.

Wikipedia, “United States Secret Service

United States Secret Service, “History“and US Secret Service Annual Report 2010

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  1. […] the testimony of Michael Merit, Deputy Assistant Director of the Office of Investigations of the US Secret Service — from a hearing before the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, […]



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