For 20 years, Carrie Hill dedicated her life to the U.S. Secret Service (USSS). Though the hours were long and often took her far away from home, working for the USSS created opportunities for Hill to explore the world, hone her leadership skills and break barriers for other women, all while protecting top U.S. leaders and safeguarding critical intelligence.
“It's a very, very rewarding but very demanding job,” Hill said. “You spend a lot of time traveling because that is what the mission demands.”
Hill was undeterred by the service’s grueling schedule, traveling over borders and through countries during her career. Her assignments took her to Jordan, China, Japan, Panama, Argentina, France, Israel and Germany – among others. A fearless world traveler, Hill climbed the Great Wall of China, dogsledded in Finland and scuba-dived in Bonaire, off Venezuela’s coast in the southern Caribbean.
“These experiences helped shape me to see the world in a new light, embrace different cultures and gain a better understanding of the world,” Hill said. “They helped prepare me for the path forward, which eventually led me to TSA for the second half of my career.”
Her accolades span years and include high-profile cases. During Hill’s career, she conducted complex financial investigations with one case resulting in the arrest and indictment of 14 suspects in a fraud scheme that defrauded over 80 victims spanning several states. Hill also worked with Interpol on an international fraud case, leading to the arrest of a former government official.
On top of it all, she supported frequent domestic and foreign intelligence missions for U.S. presidents and vice presidents.
Her extensive professional accomplishments are proof of a well-forged path and respected reputation she earned among her peers. And although the work was gratifying, it was not without sacrifices.
“It can be challenging balancing work and personal life demands for anyone employed in a law enforcement career,” Hill explained. “Working for the USSS was a lifestyle and not just a job.”
From an early age, Hill was guided by her grandmother’s wisdom and example of a strong, hardworking woman.
“She was not afforded the opportunity to go to college or to pursue a professional career, but she was determined to succeed,” said Hill. “She lived a very fulfilling life surrounded by her children and grandchildren. My grandmother was my biggest cheerleader when it came to pursuing an education and exploring the world.”
Along her career journey, Hill sought out influential mentors, especially those campaigning for change for women in the workplace. One mentor is still a constant source of support, Mamie Kinzig, whom she met in 2018, working together at the USSS.
The two had different USSS paths but shared the same values when it came to professional work ethic and balancing the job with a family life.
Today, Kinzig remains her mentor. They work together in TSA’s Dallas Office of Investigations, where Kinzig is the Special Agent in Charge.
“Mamie is a trailblazer for women at TSA,” Hill said. “She is highly respected for her professional accomplishments and dedication to the mission and employees. She is also a mother who achieved professional success and managed to balance that with raising a family. It is not only admirable, but it is inspiring to me as a new mom of a 6-month-old baby girl. I’m also very lucky to be surrounded by other amazing women in our office who have managed to have meaningful careers and be great role models for their children.”
Now a Special Agent with TSA, Hill was recruited by Kinzig largely due to her experience investigating financial and identity fraud. In this new role, she investigates criminal cases involving fraud related to the Known Crewmember (KCM) program and the Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC) program.
Hill answered Kinzig’s call to engage with internal and external TSA stakeholders and prioritize insider threat issues.
Within a short amount of time, she has made an impact on programs and cases she investigates.
She has also forged new partnerships with TSA Surface Operations and the U.S. Coast Guard, yielding tangible results.
“I was hired to work closely with our Intelligence, Research and Liaison Division, which is instrumental in uncovering fraudulent activity,” Hill explained. “Since joining TSA, I’ve contributed to efforts already underway by my peers. Some of these efforts have resulted in significant prosecutions. I have also discovered some vulnerabilities in the TWIC program, and we continue to find solutions to make it more secure.”
When Hill first started at TSA, she leveraged her connections with other federal law enforcement agencies to help broaden the Investigations program network, while promoting cross-agency communication.
“I reached out to my local law enforcement partners with the USSS, FBI, Social Security Administration and Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service and briefed them about Investigation’s role in conducting criminal fraud investigations related to TSA programs like TSA PreCheck®, TWIC and KCM,” Hill explained.
These conversations led to a collaborative agency effort, uncovering a US citizen imposter, who had assumed the identity of a dead child. The individual was a KCM for many years and used a stolen birth certificate to get US citizenship status, a US passport and a KCM credential. Hill, with the help of her law enforcement partners, brought the case to a successful close.
“Women can have a successful career and a healthy family life,” Hill said. “It can be done. I think we're moving towards that, and I think our federal law enforcement is moving towards that as well. TSA continues to lead the way in diversity, work-life balance efforts and caring for their employees. That is what initially drew me to TSA Investigations, and I hope we will continue to recruit others to enter this rewarding field.”
By Kimberlyn Pepe, TSA’s Strategic Communications & Public Affairs