The Office of Intelligence Support was established in 1977 during the tenure of Treasury Secretary W. Michael Blumenthal. It succeeded the Office of National Security (ONS), which was set up in 1961 under Treasury Secretary Douglas Dillon to connect the Treasury Department with the work of the National Security Council. ONS's representation of Treasury with the Intelligence Community began under a presidential memorandum in 1971 during the tenure of Treasury Secretary William E. Simon.
In 1972, in response to the Murphy Commission Report to the Congress, which stressed the importance of strong links between the Intelligence Community and officials responsible for international economic policy, Treasury became a member of the National Foreign Intelligence Board. Today, Executive Order 12333 lists the Special Assistant to the Secretary (National Security) as a senior intelligence officer of the Intelligence Community.
The Special Assistant and his staff support the Secretary of the Treasury in his roles as chief economic and financial adviser to the President. As the focal point on intelligence matters for the Department and Community agencies, the Special Assistant represents the Treasury Department and maintains continuous liaison with other elements of the Intelligence Community. He reviews all proposed support relationships between Community components and Treasury offices and bureaus.
Under the Special Assistant's direction, the Office of Intelligence Support is responsible for providing timely, relevant intelligence to the Secretary and other Treasury Department officials. To carry out its mission, the Office of Intelligence Support has three main functions:
- It alerts the Secretary and other officials to fast-breaking events, foreign and domestic
- It provides intelligence reports and products to Treasury officials
- It oversees the intelligence relationships of Treasury's offices and bureaus.
In addition, the Office participates in the preparation of National Intelligence Estimates and other Community-wide intelligence products, developing and coordinating Treasury Department contributions. OIS officers also sit as Treasury members and advisors on designated national intelligence committees and subcommittees.
Before the United States Secret Service was transferred to the Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003, that agency (the second largest federal law enforcement agency, and responsible for the prevention and investigation of counterfeiting of U.S. currency and Treasury securities and investigation of major fraud) was part of the Treasury Department.