BELFAST, Northern Ireland – Ahead of President Joe Biden’s speech here Wednesday, local police lost a document that detailed sensitive security information related to the president’s visit.
A local resident is believed to have found the document on a street in Belfast, a U.S. law enforcement official said, confirming the authenticity of the paper on the condition of anonymity.
The document contained names of Belfast police and postings, but nothing related to the Secret Service’s operations, which oversees the president’s security during foreign trips, or its security plans.
The security breach came as the terrorism threat in Northern Ireland was considered “severe” for Biden’s visit to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, which ended three decades of civil war in Northern Ireland.
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Most of Belfast’s city center was barricaded off to residents for protection in a city with a long history of violence.
Despite the breach, the U.S. Secret Service expressed continued trust in local authorities.
“The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) informed the Secret Service of media reports regarding a potentially sensitive document, which may contain law-enforcement material,” the agency said. “While we do not discuss the specifics of any protective operation, the President’s movements were not affected by these reports.”
Jocelyn Keaveny, the Secret Service’s special agent-in-charge of the Paris Field Office who is overseeing the Biden visit, called the PSNI a “dedicated partner” in the security effort.
“The Secret Service relies on partnerships to provide the highest level of dignitary protection in the world,” Keaveny said. “We remain grateful for their ongoing support during the President’s visit.”
The PSNI described the local security operation as the largest in a decade, involving nearly 3,000 officers.
“The breadth of this operation has been huge,” Assistant Chief Constable Chris Todd said. “Extensive planning and preparation has been implemented to ensure the safety and security of the US President, his officials and staff, as well as Prime Minster Sunak and other dignitaries.”
The Secret Service has faced its share of security challenges during the Biden administration, have successfully navigated the president’s surprise visit to Ukraine in February ahead of the anniversary of Russia’s invasion.
The Ukraine visit was kept secret because of security concerns, part of an operation that the White House said had been ”meticulously planned” for months.
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Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden security paper lost by Ireland police; citizen finds on street