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  » Appendix VI
  » Appendix VII
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  » Appendix IX
  » Appendix X
  » Appendix XI
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  » Appendix XIII
  » Appendix XIV
  » Appendix XV
  » Appendix XVI
  » Appendix XVII
  » Appendix XVIII
Warren Commission Report: Page 509« Previous | Next »

(APPENDIX VII - A Brief History of Presidential Protection)

The Secret Service was organized as a division of the Department of the Treasury in 1865, to deal with counterfeiting.22 Its jurisdiction was extended to other fiscal crimes against the United States in later appropriations acts,23 but its early work in assisting in protecting the President was an unofficial, stopgap response to a need for a trained organization, with investigative capabilities, to perform this task. In 1894, while investigating a plot .by a group of gamblers in Colorado to assassinate President Cleveland, the Secret Service assigned a small detail of operatives to the White House to help protect him. Secret Service men accompanied the President and his family to their vacation home in Massachusetts; special details protected the President in Washington, on trips, and at special functions.24 For a time, two agents rode in a buggy behind President Cleveland's carriage, but this practice attracted so much attention in the opposition newspapers that it was soon discontinued at the President's insistence.25 These initially informal and part-time arrangements eventually led to the organization of permanent systematic protection for the President and his family.

During the Spanish-American War the Secret Service stationed a detail at the White House to provide continuous protection for President McKinley. The special wartime protective measures were relaxed after the war, but Secret Service guards remained on duty at the White House at least part of the time. 26

Between 1894 and 1900, anarchists murdered the President of France, the Premier of Spain, the Empress of Austria, and the King of Italy. At the turn of the century the Secret Service thought that the strong police action taken against the anarchists in Europe was compelling them to flee and that many were coming to the United States. Concerned about the protection of the President, the Secret Service increased the number of guards and directed that a guard accompany him on all of his trips. 27

Unlike Lincoln and Garfield, President McKinley was being guarded when he was shot by Leon F. Czolgosz, an American-born 28-year-old factory worker and farmhand. On September 6, 1901, the President was holding a brief reception for the public in the Temple of Music at the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo. Long lines of people passed between two rows of policemen and soldiers to reach the President and shake his hand. In the immediate vicinity of the President were four Buffalo detectives, four soldiers, and three Secret Service agents. Two of the Secret Service men were facing the President at a distance of 3 feet. One of them stated later that it was normally his custom to stand at the side of the President on such ,occasions, but that he had been requested not to do so at this time in order to permit McKinley's secretary and the president of the exposition to stand on either side of McKinley. Czolgosz joined the line concealed a pistol under a handkerchief, and when he stood in front of the President shot twice through the handkerchief. McKinley fell critically wounded.28

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