Explainer: What Does the Secret Service Do? - PICTURES

April 16, 2012, 7:18 a.m.

Out­fit­ted in dark suits and black sunglasses, Secret Ser­vice agents try to blend in.

(RE­LATED: Obama Says He’ll With­hold Judg­ment on Secret Ser­vice)

Oc­ca­sion­ally, though, they make head­lines, as some mem­bers did over the week­end after they were re­lieved of duty amid al­leg­a­tions of in­volve­ment with pros­ti­tu­tion. That prompts the ques­tion: What ex­actly does the Secret Ser­vice do?

(RE­LATED: Secret Ser­vice Code Names Re­vealed)

Foun­ded in 1865 as part of the Treas­ury De­part­ment, the Secret Ser­vice to this day is charged with in­vest­ig­a­tions in­volving coun­ter­feit­ing in ad­di­tion to pro­tect­ing top fed­er­al of­fi­cials, vis­it­ing for­eign dig­nit­ar­ies, and ma­jor polit­ic­al can­did­ates. 

Here’s a look at the agents on the job: