Publication information
view printer-friendly version
Source: Evening Post
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Secret Service at Fault”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: New York, New York
Date of publication: 21 September 1901
Volume number: 100
Issue number: none
Pagination: 5

“Secret Service at Fault.” Evening Post [New York] 21 Sept. 1901 v100: p. 5.
full text
William P. Hazen; William P. Hazen (public statements); Secret Service; Secret Service (criticism); Secret Service (protecting McKinley); McKinley assassination (personal response); Grover Cleveland (protection); presidents (protection); Roosevelt presidency (predictions, expectations, etc.).
Named persons
Frances Folsom Cleveland; Grover Cleveland; Jacob S. Coxey; William P. Hazen; Theodore Roosevelt.


Secret Service at Fault


Criticism of the Bureau by Ex-Chief Ha[z]en.

     Nowhere, in the opinion of ex-Chief William P. Hazen of the Secret Service, will the reaction of the present national feeling work so radically as through that division of the Treasury Department; and the Government will in the end have a thoroughly organized and disciplined corps.
     “Contrary to general belief,” said Mr. Hazen to-day, “the Government Secret Service is nowhere near the size and importance that magazine articles and half-tone illustrations make the reading public think. When I was at its head, four years ago, it had something like twenty-eight men, and an annual appropriation of about $60,000 to conduct it. That sufficed for the country from ocean to ocean, and a chase over the sea, if necessary. Since then, I believe, the division has been enlarged a trifle. A newspaper man who had to be rewarded is now Chief; the bars have been taken down, and all sorts and conditions of men out of a job have b[?]en appointed to places as detectives. There are men in the division now who would have to think well before they put down their past history in black and white; men whose careers would not look well in cold printer’s ink.
     “The Government Secret Service is really used only for one thing—chasing counterfeiters. That is the work for which its appropriations are voted by Congress, and if the head of any department wishes the use of a man, he makes a request to the Treasury Department, has his man assigned, and takes him on his own department’s pay-roll. To run down counterfeiters, it does not take a remarkably sharp man. Money will buy all the information one wants, and will save much time, besides. You can imagine what kind of a man it takes to do a little ‘slick’ work with money; and after they get in the habit of working that way, they fail when they run up against a big case.
     “It is not for an ex-chief of the service to point out what ought to have been done at Buffalo, after it is all over, but I cannot as a plain citizen refrain from criticism. Three men were detailed by the Secret-Service head at Washington to watch for the safety of the Chief Executive, the largest ‘plain clothes’ body guard [sic] that any President of this country has ever had. They had their instructions, or should have had, and were responsible for the President’s life. Under the discipline, as it should have existed, they should have taken their orders from no one but their chief, and never should have given up their positions of vantage where they could command a view of each person approaching, and be near enough to stop any one that looked suspicious. These officers, one in particular, I understand, stepped to one side to make room and to oblige the Presidential party. It was carelessness and lack of discipline. The men did the best they could, and I do not blame them. One had to be detailed from Chicago, and another from Rochester, the third followed the President from Washington.
     “The system is poor. Congress is partially to blame, for there have been measures prepared before this, authorizing the reorganization of the Secret-Service Division, and it has [been?] shelved each time it was presented.
     “There would probably never have been any guard for the President if Mrs. Cleveland in her time had not established th[e] precedent. President Cleveland objected strongly, and the result was a compromise in which we provided for a watch upon the President every time he left the White House. The arrival of Coxey’s army occasioned the first use of detectives at receptions. This illustrates how crude are the workings of what we call our Secret Service. It did do a little something at the time of the Spanish-American war, but nothing, compared to what it might have accomplished if it had been constructed o[n] different principles. President Roosevelt, with his experience in police and army organization, and his enthusiasm in civil-service reform, could accomplish much in rebuilding this important division of the Government’s Treasury Department.”



top of page