Feature Presidential Security

Find out more about protecting the President.

Presidential Security

Wes with more on whose job is it to protect the President.

Who protects the President? Well, before the Secret Service, it was sometimes the Army, sometimes the local police.

But lots of times, it was no one.

Tom Jefferson walked to his own inauguration, unguarded.

Martin Van Buren walked to church on Sundays, alone.

Before Lincoln, the only serious attempt to kill a President was a would-be assassin who fired two shots at Andrew Jackson.

He missed.

But even after that, presidential protection remained, at best, sporadic.

On the night Lincoln was assassinated, a local Washington patrolman had been assigned to protect the President.

But he abandoned his post... to get a better view of the play.

The Secret Service was created four months after Lincoln's assassination- not to protect the President, but to protect the economy.

Its agents were charged with fighting counterfeiting.

At the time, over one-third of the paper currency in the United States was counterfeit.

Two more presidents would be assassinated before presidential protection became a full-time national priority.

One gunman killed President Garfield at a Washington train station in 1881; and another gunman shot President McKinley at the Pan-Am Expo in Buffalo in 1901.

After three assassinations in less than forty years, Congress finally assigned the Secret Service responsibility for the safety of the President at all times.

Today, the duties of the Secret Service include protecting the President, Vice-President, future presidents, past presidents, presidential families, visiting heads of states, and other distinguished foreign visitors.

They still continue to fight counterfeiting, as well as credit card, telemarketing, and cell phone fraud. In other words, they stay busy.