Behavioral Sciences & the Law

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Volume 4 Issue 4 (Autumn (Fall) 1986), Pages 351-490

Relationships between the U.S. Secret Service and the behavioral and social sciences (pages 437-457)


The United States Secret Service is a federal law enforcement agency of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The Secret Service investigates crimes related to U.S. currency, credit card fraud, forgery of government obligations, and other related violations. However, the Secret Service is perhaps best known for its protective and investigative responsibilities involving the President and Vice President of the United States, members of their immediate families, and visiting foreign dignitaries. During the past 22 years, concern for protective responsibilities has provoked occasional and sometimes fruitful dialogue between the Secret Service and members of the professional behavioral and social sciences communities. This article describes the evolution and future possibilities of that relationship by providing: (a) a brief history and overview of the Secret Service, focusing on its protective and investigative responsibilities, (b) an analysis of the recent contributions of the behavioral and social sciences to the Secret Service, and (c) an assessment of current and future directions to be taken in the professional behavioral sciences intramural and extramural research programs recently established by the Secret Service.

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