Thursday, August 29, 2019

Secret Service Releases Single Page Record Showing Brief Leadership History of USSS Chicago Field Office

Most Chicagoans only know the most common and popular tidbits of Chicago city history. Ask any Chicagoan if they know the history of the relationship between the city government and the U.S. federal government, especially in the context of federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies operating their respective field offices in what became metro Chicago, and almost nobody can answer you.

Chicago is known for our financial district, which has a history of it's own, but someone had to protect all that currency from threats of the day, and no threat was ever as dangerous to Chicago's economy and its place in the national economy than counterfeiting operations.

Enter the U.S. Secret Service. Their first job assigned by United States Congress was to investigate the crime of counterfeit money operations. Founded on July 5th, 1865, the Secret Service first established their very first Chicago field office operation in 1869.

Today the Secret Service released a single-page document that shows every USSS Special Agent in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office from 1869 to the current day. That document shows that the USSS Chicago Field Office is currently operating under command of their 29th Special Agent in-Charge.

The very first Secret Service Special Agent in-Charge was called an "Operative in-Charge" and his name was Thomas Lonergan. Lonergan headed the USSS Chicago Field Office from an unspecified date in 1869 until an unspecified date in 1874, the released Secret Service document shows.

Chicago-One asked the Secret Service to provide a casefile list showing the earliest criminal cases investigated by the Secret Service Chicago Field Office, but in today's response, the Secret Service notes that no such responsive documents could be found. Given that fact, Chicago residents may never know anything about the earliest days of Secret Service criminal investigation operations within the Chicago Field Office, at least from the internal archives of the Secret Service.

Chicago-One will be checking the archives of the U.S. federal courts, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and the U.S. Department of Justice to find out how far their records of referred Secret Service cases go back.

Two other interesting facts were brought to light by today's Secret Service document release. The early Secret Service Chicago Field Office appears to have either kept records very badly, or the records may have been lost for two different time periods: 1878 to 1885, and 1881 to 1891 for an Assistant Operative named William Hall, who is noted to have started in Chicago from the bottom ranks as an Office Boy who died from tuberculosis in 1891.

Chicago-One News will attempt a search for USSS Chicago Field Office SAIC personnel records and lists of early USSS Operatives / Special Agents.

In 1867, the Secret Service became responsible  for "detecting persons perpetrating fraud against the U.S. government" and twenty-seven years later in 1894, the Secret Service got into the most important and most highly classified agency work they continue today as their main priority.....the protection of U.S. Presidents.

At that time, the Secret Service Operative in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office was Thomas I. Porter.

The year 1894 brought the Secret Service into the part-time protection of President Cleveland. Seven years after that, in 1901, President William McKinley was assassinated and U.S. Congress gave the Secret Service full-time responsibility for the protection of all U.S. Presidents, past and present.

Operative In-Charge Thomas I. Porter remained the head of the Chicago Field Office during this era, and completed his service in 1926.

Thomas J. Callaghan was the Secret Service OIC/AIC in Chicago during the December 7th, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Callaghan served in that position from 1926 to 1945 as Chicago's 7th OIC/AIC.

The agency's records show that several decades later, during the most embarassing, dramatic, and tragic intelligence failure in U.S. history that occurred on 9/11/2001, the Special Agent In-Charge at the Chicago Field Office was Arnette F. Heintze. Heintze served the USSS Chicago Field Office from 1999 to 2003 as Chicago's 23rd USSS Special Agent In-Charge.

Today's current Secret Service Special Agent In-Charge is Chicago's 29th. His name is Christopher D. Diiorio.

Today, the U.S. Secret Service Chicago Field Office is located at 525 W. Van Buren, #900
Chicago, IL, 60607

Google Street View of the current United States Secret Setvice Chicago Field Office

Google Street View of the current Secret Service Chicago Field Office

The current Secret Service Chicago Field Office location is just about or around two blocks  southwest of their 1990s location at 300 S. Riverside Plaza. Whereas the old Riverside Plaza location gave them a nice river view, the current Van Buren location is just west of the Chicago River, just down the street from the Van Buren st. bridge.

Here are a couple views of the old Secret Service Chicago Field Office at 300 s. Riverside Plaza, courtesy of Google Street View.

According to the corporate website for 300 S. Riverside Plaza, the building is "a 23-story Class A office tower containing approximately 1.1 million square feet". Secret Service records from today's release do not mention this past location. Chicago-One will attempt to secure the records for this location from the U.S. Secret Service for a future piece.