A ‘sensitive’ police document was discovered in Belfast before the president’s arrival
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is investigating a security breach after a member of the public found a document detailing the force’s plan for US President Joe Biden’s visit to the city.
Biden arrived in Belfast on Tuesday evening, where he was greeted by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. He then stayed at the Grand Central Hotel in the city center ahead of a speech at a university on Wednesday.
Handed to the BBC by a member of the public, the document details the names and call signs of officers stationed at checkpoints around Biden’s hotel, asking them to coordinate with the US Secret Service and to “be alert and challenge people acting suspiciously” in the zone.
One of the document’s five pages was posted on Twitter by BBC journalist Stephen Nolan, with the officers’ names and call signs redacted. The page was dated Monday and presumably covers security preparations for that evening. The document is marked “Sensitive official.”
“I literally walked out of my house and drove down the street and saw the document,” its finder told Nolan on Wednesday. “I stopped, picked it up, and there it was: the first thing I noticed was that it was a PSNI document with ‘sensitive’ at the top.”
A PSNI spokesperson told Belfast Live that the force is “aware of a security breach” and launched an investigation.
Biden traveled to Northern Ireland to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. As part of the 1998 deal, Catholic Nationalists and Protestant Unionists in Northern Ireland agreed to share power, while their respective armed paramilitary groups agreed to lay down their arms in exchange for the release of political prisoners . While paramilitary violence has continued at a low level since the agreement was signed, it has largely ended decades of bloodshed in the disputed province.
The deal was brokered by then-US President Bill Clinton and backed by Biden, who was then a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
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