In the wake of embarrassing incidents ranging from public intoxication to involvement with prostitutes, Secret Service agents have been reassigned and new rules have been laid down, according to ABC News on April 9. Among those reassigned was special agent in charge Edwin Donovan because of allegations involving alcohol.
Under the new rules, Secret Service agents are not allowed to drink within 12 hours of a shift, or within 24 hours of a Presidential arrival on a trip. Currently the new rules and regulations are limited to the special operations division of the Secret Service.
Shortly before President Obama's arrival in the Netherlands to meet with officials from several countries, three agents were relieved of duty because they were drunk in a hotel. Two years ago several Secret Service agents were involved in a prostitution ring and caused the agency to face close scrutiny.
The United States Secret Service was founded in July of 1865 just months after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, although its establishment had nothing to do with Lincoln's assassination. The Secret Service was founded to discourage the flow of counterfeit currency. Its first director was Chief William P. Wood.
The Secret Service was not engaged with the responsibility of protecting the President until after the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901. On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was riding in his top down convertible limousine with his wife, Jacqueline and Governor John Connally and his wife, Nellie. As the Secret Service agents were walking back to enter their own car in preparation for a short ride on the freeway, shots rang out. Both President Kennedy and Governor Connally were struck. Kennedy's wounds were fatal. Connally lived and later became Treasury Secretary under President Ronald Reagan.
The controversy swirling around those who were there the day President Kennedy was assassinated, including Vice-President Lyndon Johnson, has been unrelenting ever since. The Warren Commission, which was created by President Johnson and chaired by Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, concluded that the President was shot by a lone assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby a few days later as he was preparing to be transferred to another facility to await his trial for killing President Kennedy and a Dallas police officer.
Conspiracy theorists have circulated a barrage of theories pertaining to the assassination, blaming high-profile political figures, organized crime, foreign leaders, and government agencies. All the while, the Secret Service has had to work hard to maintain its image and retain its dignity. Recent events involving alcohol and prostitution have not been helpful.