Administration

Document with security details on Biden’s Belfast trip found on street: reports

A document with details about the security arrangements for President Biden’s visit to Belfast, Northern Ireland, was found on the street Wednesday in what local police called a “security breach,” according to reports.

USA Today reported local police lost the document containing the names of Belfast police and where they would be posted, but no information related to the Secret Service. 

The BBC first reported that a local resident found the document, which was marked “sensitive” and included instructions for road closures and traffic coordination. A BBC show shared an image of the document.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) told the Independent newspaper that an investigation had been launched into the situation.

“We are aware of a security breach,” it said. “We take the safety of visiting dignitaries, members of the public and our officers and staff extremely seriously and will put the appropriate actions in place.”

Biden is visiting the country to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, which brought peace to a region that had experienced long-standing violence over the possible reunification of Ireland with Northern Ireland. 

The terrorism threat in the city ahead of Biden’s visit was considered to be “severe” amid increased activity from Irish republican militant groups.

Jocelyn Keaveny, the special agent in charge of the Secret Service’s Paris field office, told The Hill that the Northern Irish police service informed the agency about media reports about a “potentially sensitive document” that might contain law enforcement material.

“While we do not discuss the specifics of any protective operation, the President’s movements were not affected by these reports,” Keaveny said, adding that the agency has “high confidence” in its Irish and European partners and the visit’s security.

“The Police Service of Northern Ireland is a truly dedicated partner, and we have the utmost confidence in the PSNI’s abilities to work side by side with our agency,” Keaveny said. “We remain grateful for their ongoing support during the President’s visit.”

The Northern Irish police service also confirmed on Wednesday that four viable pipe bombs were recovered in a cemetery in the town of Creggan. Derry City & Strabane Area Commander Chief Superintendent Nigel Goddard said officials believe the devices would have been used to attack police. 

Goddard said the main investigation into the devices is to determine if they are connected to the New Irish Republican Army, a paramilitary organization that uses violence to support its goal of reunifying Ireland and North Ireland.

–Updated on April 13 at 10:46 a.m.

Tags Northern Ireland President Joe Biden

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