September 22, 2014 2:59 PM EDT

Photographer Brooks Kraft, a regular contributor to TIME, has been shooting the White House for 14 years, spanning a period that includes the 2000 election controversy, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Iraq War, a global financial crisis and more.

Through Kraft’s work at 1600 Pennsylvania there has been the quiet force behind the camera, silent and standing sentry, that quite literally keeps life going at the White House: The Secret Service.

Founded in 1865 to squash the production of counterfeit U.S. currency, today the Secret Service bears the burden of responsibility to protect the President and other VIPs, including the President’s family, presidential candidates and visiting dignitaries.

In light of recent security breaches at the White House, TIME takes a closer look at the men responsible for ensuring the President’s safety.

 

Contact us at letters@time.com.

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