For Immediate Release
DHS Press Office
Last week after returning from the United Nations, President Obama commended the United States Secret Service for its extraordinary work providing security for the United Nations General Assembly and the visit by Pope Francis to the United States.
I want to expand upon that compliment.
As the President noted, far too often the press and public are captivated by episodes of bad news; as leaders, it is our responsibility to ensure that the public does not lose sight of the extraordinary and successful good work of our dedicated public servants, so that it is never taken for granted.
Over the last two weeks the U.S. Secret Service was flawlessly successful in orchestrating one of the largest, if not the largest, domestic security operation in the history of this country. I dare to say no other government agency in the world has the experience, the tools and the skill to have accomplished this.
Over the last two weeks the U.S. Secret Service was the lead U.S. government agency for the security of over 160 world leaders, in addition to over 70 of their spouses, who came to the U.S. for the UN General Assembly and other reasons. In addition to the Pope, these world leaders included President Xi Jinping of China, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom, King Abdullah of Jordan, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi of Iraq, Prime Minister Hasan Rouhani of Iran, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy, President François Hollande of France, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt and President Raul Castro of Cuba. Almost all of these leaders were in our country at the same time.
Particularly this year, the security for this convergence of world leaders was a massive and intense undertaking. These events required, among many things:
- The assignment of thousands of special agents and uniform personnel of the U.S. Secret Service from around the country to be primarily responsible for these leaders while they were anywhere in the United States;
- Months of detailed discussions and planning with city officials and police departments in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., to plan and prepare parade and motorcade routes, and outdoor and indoor events;
- Months of direct negotiations with the staff and security details of almost all these world leaders about the logistics and security for their visits, to include a visit by Director Clancy and other U.S. Secret Service personnel to the Vatican; and
- Security screening of an estimated 130,000 people in Washington, D.C.; over one million people in Philadelphia, and over 200,000 in New York.
The security for the all these leaders (and the public) surrounding their visits to the U.S. was by no means limited to the Secret Service. Other components of the Department of Homeland Security were heavily involved:
- Homeland Security Investigations, which is part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, committed thousands of their special agents from across the country to assist with supporting venue security and to augment dignitary protection.
- The Transportation Security Administration committed over 1,000 of their personnel and equipment from around the country, to support the magnetometers for public events and enhance security at airports and train stations in Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency served as the lead federal agency for emergency and consequence management and coordinated responses to protect public health and safety as necessary.
- The U.S. Coast Guard committed hundreds of their personnel and vessels to support airspace and maritime security. This included the patrol and security of the East River in New York, adjacent to the United Nations, and fixed security zones in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection provided hundreds of their personnel for venue security, communications, and non-intrusive inspection of items coming in to the cities.
- The Federal Protective Service personnel supported venue security.
This truly was a whole of DHS effort.
This massive undertaking by DHS was, of course, a partnership with other federal agencies of the U.S. government, to include the State Department, the FBI, the Defense Department, and Department of Commerce, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Transportation. The events of the last two weeks also involved huge undertakings by the cities of New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., and their police forces.
All these forces, working together, brought about safe and successful visits to the United States by the Pope and the other world leaders, in a highly professional, precise and well-coordinated manner. The Pope and others got to see and experience the United States, our people, and our free and democratic society, at our very best.
The men and women of the U.S. Secret Service are prepared at a moment’s notice to put their own lives on the line for the people they protect. The events of these past two weeks were extraordinary, but it was an extension of the work they do every day, which often goes unnoticed or unacknowledged.
Congratulations to all!
Secretary Johnson participated in a media availability to thank the members of the U.S. Secret Service for their dedication and hard work during the United Nations General Assembly and the Pope’s visit to Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia. (DHS Photo/Jetta Disco)
Back row: Office of Investigations Assistant Director Kenneth Jenkins, Dignitary Protective Division Special Agent in Charge Tyler McQuiston, National Special Security Event (NSSE) Coordinator Assistant Special Agent in Charge Matthew Lynch, UNGA Coordinator Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge Robert Sciarrone, Washington, D.C., U.S. Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy, NSSE Coordinator Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge Max Poux, Philadelphia NSSE Assistant Special Agent in Charge Michael Breslin, New York NSSE Coordinator Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge Michael D’Ambrosio, and Uniformed Division Chief Kevin Simpson.
Front row: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations Executive Associate Director Peter Edge, ICE Director Sarah Saldaña, Transportation Security Administration Administrator Peter Neffenger