Oregon has one Secret Service field office located in Portland, from which agents combat financial crimes along with their primary mission of protecting visiting heads of state.
The December 18, 2013 indictment of four individuals in Portland was the successful conclusion of a rigorous two-year multi-agency investigation conducted by the Secret Service, the DEA, Homeland Security and other law enforcement units. The investigation began with information about an illegal internet drug marketplace that reportedly had over 950,000 users involved in a billion dollar operation. Products were distributed and sold through an encrypted network called the “Silk Road.” Buyers paid with “bitcoins” which were then converted to U.S. currency via various money transfer systems. In addition to the serious drug charges, which included exporting meth to other countries, the arrestees were charged with 15 counts of domestic and international money laundering.
Requirements for Becoming a Secret Service Agent in Oregon
Secret Service agent jobs require applicants to have at least a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate field such as criminal justice, homeland security, law enforcement administration, criminology or finance. Applicants are also required to have roughly three years experience in law enforcement, criminal investigations or the military; however, graduate studies can count for some of that experience.
Oregon has over seven public universities and at least 15 other private and public four-year colleges/universities. Oregonians can also elect to earn a degree from several accredited online schools.
Additional requirements for becoming a Secret Service agent include:
- Citizen of the United States
- Between 21 and 37 years of age
- Excellent health and physical condition
- Submit to a urinalysis and possible polygraph
- Qualify for a top secret security clearance
Information about open positions, the hiring process and online applications are available at the Secret Service employment website. Contact the Portland field office at 503-326-2162 for information about job opportunities in Oregon.
Qualifying for a Top Secret Clearance
A top secret clearance is the highest of several levels of security clearances issued by the government and is required for many Secret Service careers in Oregon. A top-secret clearance allows access to national security, counterterrorism, counterintelligence and other data that could harm national security if revealed.
The background investigation required for this clearance goes back 10 years and takes between three and 18 months to complete. These clearances must be renewed every five years.
The following are areas of concern in a top secret background investigation:
- Allegiance to the United States – No involvement with any persons or groups that advocate overthrowing the US government or depriving others of their constitutional rights.
- Preference for the U.S. – no serious ties with another country or citizens of another country; no exercise of dual citizenship, use of a foreign passport or service to another nation.
- Acceptable Sexual Behavior – No sexual acts that are a criminal offense or that invite exploitation.
- Good Personal Conduct – No pattern of dishonesty, concealment of facts, failure to answer questions truthfully or association with criminals.
- Clean Financial Record – No history of not meeting financial obligations or illegal financial practices; no serious debt or unexplained affluence; no financial problems due to gambling.
- Alcohol and Drug Use – No evidence of excessive alcohol consumption or illegal drug use; no DUI convictions.
- No history of mental, emotional or personality disorders
- No past criminal conduct
- No past disclosure of classified information
- No misuse of Government Systems like illegal entry into an IT network.
The Secret Service at Work in Portland
One of the Secret Service’s most surprising cases involved five individuals who managed to make and distribute $70,000 in high-quality counterfeit bills using only an ordinary 3-in-1-printer, regular inkjet paper and dabs of hair gel! Portland Secret Service agents caught the counterfeiters by collecting and analyzing surveillance videos from businesses that had taken the fake bills. Agents were able to narrow down the cast of characters involved and put an end to their creative enterprise.