Lazy eyes listen
The Northern Ireland Police Service (PSNI) is investigating a “security breach” after a member of the public discovered a paper outlining the force’s plans for US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to the city.
On Tuesday night, Biden arrived in Belfast, where he was greeted by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. He then spent the night at the Grand Central Hotel in Manhattan before giving a speech at a university on Wednesday.
A member of the public sent the letter to the BBC, which lists the identities and call signs of the cops manning checkpoints outside Biden’s hotel, urging them to cooperate with the US Secret Service and to “be alert to and challenge persons acting suspiciously” in the vicinity.
BBC writer Stephen Nolan shared one of the document’s five pages on Twitter, with the cops’ identities and call signs blacked. The document was dated Monday and most likely pertains to security preparations for that evening. The paper bears the designation “Official Sensitive.”
“I literally came out of my home and drove up the street and saw the document,” its discoverer told Nolan on Wednesday. “I came to a halt, picked it up, and there it was: the first thing I noticed was that it was a PSNI document with the word’sensitive’ written on top.”
According to a PSNI spokesman, the police is “aware of a security breach” and has initiated an inquiry.
Biden flew to Northern Ireland to commemorate the Good Friday Agreement’s 25th anniversary. The 1998 agreement called for Northern Ireland’s Catholic nationalists and Protestant unionists to share power, while their respective armed paramilitary groups pledged to disarm in exchange for the release of political detainees. While paramilitary violence has remained low after the accord was reached, it effectively put a stop to decades of killing in the disputed region.
The agreement was negotiated by then-US President Bill Clinton and endorsed by Biden, who was then a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.