The U.S. Secret Service could use a new name

The United States Secret Service is tasked with two responsibilities: prevention and investigation of financial crimes, and protection of current and former high-ranking officials of the U.S. federal government and their families. The original purpose of the Secret Service was to handle financial crimes, but it was later given its better-known task to bodyguard important officials like the U.S. President.

Due to the fact that it wasn’t originally intended to provide protection for officials like the President, the name “Secret Service” is a bit of a misnomer — Secret Service agents acting as bodyguards are hardly serving in “secret” since they are obviously present at any public appearance of the President and similar officials (even though a Secret Service agent’s attire does not typically draw attention to the fact that he is a Secret Service agent).

There is another reason why the name “Secret Service” can misleading, though: its name is commonly abbreviated SS, which is the same abbreviation for the infamous Nazi Schutzstaffel that played a significant role in the Holocaust. Worse, the Nazi SS (as it was most commonly known) was originally designed to be the bodyguard of high ranking Nazi officials like Adolf Hitler (Schutzstaffel roughly translates to “protection squadron”)!

The Secret Service is obviously nothing like the Nazi SS and no one would confuse the two organizations, but — due to the somewhat misleading nature of the the Secret Service’s name and its odd “connection” to the Nazi SS — the Secret Service might be due for a name change.

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