The Inman Report
PROTECTION OF FOREIGN DIGNITARIES AND MISSIONS
IN THE UNITED STATES
The United States has the responsibility under international law to protect visiting foreign dignitaries and resident foreign diplomats in this country. There is an equally serious obligation to protect foreign missions in Washington, New York, and other cities in the United States. Unlike some other nations that use a single protective force, visiting foreign dignitaries/diplomats and foreign missions in the United States are protected by a wide variety of local, state, and federal organizations. In Washington, foreign missions are protected by the Uniformed Division of the Secret Service with support from the Metropolitan Police Department. The premises of foreign missions in New York and consulates in various cities are normally protected by the municipal police departments. Traveling foreign dignitaries are usually protected by the Secret Service or Department of State, and some defense officials may be protected by one of the services in the Department of Defense. Other federal agencies infrequently protect a visiting foreign official, either at the request of the Department of State or of their own volition. Resident foreign diplomats may receive protective services from the Department of State, local police authorities, or private security firms.
The Panel is disturbed by the diffusion of protective responsibility within our government that is perhaps best exemplified by the inexplicable current practice in which the Secret Service protects a visiting Head of State or Government while the Department of State's Security protects that individual's family and/or the accompanying foreign minister. Often both protective details take place simultaneously. In order to fulfill our international obligations, we must provide for a safe and secure environment for those officials visiting our country. As we raise the level of professionalism of our services, we can demand greater support and security for our own personnel overseas.
Protecting officials from harm today no longer means just having a Bodyguard nor is it a simple task of physically shielding the individual from attack. Days or weeks are spent in preparation for a single visit. Thus, the agencies recruit qualified personnel and expend months of training to teach these individuals the complicated concepts, methods, and techniques of protective security. The same concepts that apply to protecting our diplomats and residential areas abroad apply to protecting visiting foreign officials and their residences in the United States.
The Panel recommends a significant increase in the funding and resources dedicated to the protection of foreign dignitaries and missions in the United States than currently budgeted or anticipated. The Panel believes that the resources expended for the protection of foreign officials and missions in this country have been largely insufficient in the past. Demands for protective services continue to rise as more nations and officials are subjected to the threat of terrorist acts. The issue of reciprocity demands that we provide comparable protection to that which we expect overseas.
Protection of Visiting Foreign Officials
The authority for the protection of visiting foreign dignitaries is currently divided between the Department of State's Office of Security and the United States Secret Service, and to a much lesser extent, other federal agencies (including the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Defense). Both the Secret Service and the Office of Security have legal authority for the protection of Chiefs of State or Heads of Government.
The legislation contained in 18 United States Code 3056 outlining the Secret Service powers states that subject to the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secret Service is authorized to protect the person of a visiting head of a foreign state or foreign government and, at the direction of the President, other distinguished foreign visitors to the United States and official representatives of the United States performing special missions abroad. Thus, the Secret Service routinely provides protective services to every visiting Chief of State or Head of Government unless that person declines the services in writing. The only other officials protected by the Secret Service are those whom the President specifically directs the Service to protect. Therefore, when the Department of State began receiving protective requests from foreign governments for a number of officials such as Presidents-elect, former Presidents and Prime Ministers, Cabinet level ministers, opposition leaders and other important dignitaries, the Secret Service pointed out its lack of authority for protecting these officials whom it was not Presidentially directed to protect and it refused to assume the additional responsibilities. Therefore, commencing in the mid 1970's, the Office of Security again was tasked with providing protective security to all dignitaries other than current Chiefs of State or Heads of Government.
The Office of Security has applied its broad authority primarily to the protection of certain cabinet level officials, primary family members of Chiefs of State/Heads of Government and persons of royalty. Often this protection was and is based on the principle of reciprocity and not solely on the presence of a specific threat. The role of local or state law enforcement agencies in the protection of visiting foreign officials (as opposed to resident diplomats is generally that of a supportive nature to the federal agencies involved.
The Panel concentrated its study on the two agencies that provide the bulk of the dignitary protection in this country; the Secret Service and the Department of State's Office of Security. Although the Panel has been informed of sporadic successful cooperative efforts between the two agencies, the successes have been the result of individual efforts and not because of an institutional sense of cooperation or agreed-upon standards.
The Panel sought the views of both the Office of Security and the Secret Service. The organizations have differing viewpoints. The Office of Security is willing to take on protective responsibility for all foreign officials provided that it is given additional resources and authority. The Secret Service insists that additional responsibilities would dilute its primary mission of protecting the President of the United States, and it firmly indicated its opposition to the assumption of additional responsibilities. This served as a catalyst in leading the Panel to recommend the creation of a Diplomatic Security Service within the Department of State. The Panel believes that the new Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Diplomatic Security Service should ultimately be responsible for the protection of all visiting foreign officials and resident diplomats/missions when a sufficient level of professionalism has been established.
The Panel believes that the staffing and training levels of protective personnel must be significantly improved before any added protective responsibilities are placed in the Department of State. The reorganization of the security functions into the Diplomatic Security Service will be difficult. For these reasons, it is important that responsibility for the protection of Chiefs of State/Heads of Government be delayed until this new organization is prepared to absorb the responsibility in an orderly and professional manner, taking into consideration adequate staffing levels and training programs. The Panel recommends that after thorough review from both an interagency working group and training personnel, the Department and new Diplomatic Security Service determine its long range goals in the area of dignitary protection. It should fully identify its resource and equipment needs and then comprehensively budget for them.
The Panel notes that most of the further recommendations listed in this section deal with short term "fixes" -- not long term solutions. However, there are a number of ways to improve the coordination efforts of the Department of State and the Secret Service that will result in a better quality of protective services provided.
The first step in improving the services provided is the identification of the problems and solutions. Thus, the Panel believes that the Department of State and the Secret Service could benefit from the establishment of a formal working group comprised of knowledgeable members of both services. The group should set acceptable standards after studying a broad array of topics involving protective security requirements.
The Panel believes that training is one of the most vital elements of any professional program. Recent court decisions are making clear that an organization can be liable for actions of an employee who has been either improperly trained or has not been afforded the training necessary to carry out his or her job. The Panel understands that the Department has not had the resources available to devote to training but the problem is critical and requires immediate attention. Therefore, the Department of State should contract with the Department of Treasury for the Secret Service to undertake comprehensive protective training for the agents of the Department of State. The training should consider the unique problems in protecting our officials and facilities overseas.
The Panel has already noted the overlapping responsibilities of the Secret Service and Office of Security. Yet, it appears to the Panel that there has been a lack of communication and information exchange between the two agencies in the past. Professional respect is the key to future progress. An exchange program between the Secret Service and Diplomatic Security Service could foster better cooperation and understanding.
Protecting officials sometimes involves long and strenuous hours that not everyone can maintain. An exhausted or physically incapable person may be more of a danger than an asset. Protective techniques are evolving in sophistication as terrorists continue to target those highly placed, visible officials. A set of standards outlining the level of physical and mental preparedness required is necessary and should be developed and implemented.
Often, a prominent official who is subject to threats requires a large and comprehensive protective detail. The ability to respond to a terrorist attack is part and parcel of comprehensive protective coverage. Not all local police agencies have highly trained response or counter assault teams. The Diplomatic Security Service should form and use its own response team when the threat against a protected official warrants this type of coverage and an adequate team cannot be provided by supporting agencies.
One way to ensure continued support for any United States Government protective detail assigned overseas is to offer relevant training to friendly foreign governments. The Panel notes that the Department of State is offering, with the help of other agencies, training for foreign civilian agencies in the Anti-Terrorist Assistance Program and it welcomes the effort. The Panel recommends that the Department of State seek to expand its training program with the goal of providing regular in-service training of its own personnel, training in protective techniques to local and state law enforcement agencies, and limited training of friendly foreign nations' police agencies (now currently in the Anti-Terrorist Assistance Program).
A well-rounded agent must have the opportunity to do other investigative and law-enforcement work that helps to hone professional skills and that provides a change of pace from the demands of protective security. The Panel believes that in order to insure the development of a professional, experienced, and well-rounded protective agent as well as a balanced career path, the Department of State should continue to rotate its agents from its investigative units to the protective area as necessary. It should continue to investigate criminal matters under its jurisdiction and appropriately staff its field offices to perform investigative, protective, and liaison duties.
The Panel believes that those blends of investigative and protective skills and functions should be combined with an aggressive program for acquiring, analyzing, and pursuing to a conclusion all forms of intelligence that appear relevant to its protective mission. This use of intelligence should be part of a system that includes proactive investigations of possibly dangerous individuals and of sources of threat information.
The Panel has noted that the Office of Security relies upon a small cadre of capable but overworked threat analysts in Washington and upon other agencies. Since terrorism is becoming more of an international phenomenon, an aggressive protective intelligence program will not only assist in the safeguarding of visiting foreign officials but it may also protect the lives of our own personnel abroad. Therefore, the Panel believes that the Department should look at the numbers and use of its intelligence resources and plan for a comprehensive protective intelligence program. The Department should then seek an appropriate number of new positions for this function.
Traditionally, Interpol has not had an active role in counterterrorism activities because of a prohibition in its by-laws. The charter has been amended and a special terrorism working group has been established. The Department of State has no representatives on Interpol. The Panel believes that the new Diplomatic Security Service, with its expanded mandate, should seek membership and devote resources to Interpol.
An important part of the provision of a safe environment is the application of state-of-the-art technology. The Panel notes that the Office of Security has skilled technical experts involved in countermeasures, armoring of cars, and developing equipment such as alarms and CC TVs. However, this small office is largely devoted to the overseas effort and the domestic protection program is suffering. A protective program must necessarily involve application of technology, and therefore, a protective technical staff is needed within the existing Office of Engineering Services.
The protective program of the Office of Security traditionally has been supported by the Office of Communications for its tactical communications needs. In order to run a professional protective program with appropriate priorities, the Panel believes that it is necessary for the Diplomatic Security Service to control all of its resources to include funds, equipment and positions. Thus, the Diplomatic Security Service should assume responsibility for its own protective communications needs to include the transfer of appropriate positions from the Office of Communications.
Protection of Foreign Missions and Resident Diplomats
The organization of the United States Government to protect foreign missions and resident foreign diplomats is shared between the Department of State, the Secret Service, and local police agencies. Although the ultimate responsibility for American obligations, as a signatory to the Vienna Conventions, belongs to the Federal Government, state and local authorities also have an obligation to assure equal protection of the law to every person within their jurisdiction.
The Panel notes that the protection afforded to diplomatic missions is typically a function of police activity as exemplified by post standing, uniformed presence, roving patrols, and marked police vehicles. The facility itself receives the protection, not individuals. For the protection of foreign missions, the Uniformed Division of the Secret Service (a federal police agency under the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury) provides protective services to those missions only in the Washington, D.C. area. This protection is based upon a request by the Department of State, by a foreign government, and in conjunction with a viable threat assessment conducted by the Secret Service. The protection of foreign missions for the rest of the country is the responsibility of the Secretary of State, who has contracting and reimbursement authority, but no resources of his own to provide such protective services. Thus, even though the Secretary of State may contract with a local police agency or private firm for the provision of "extraordinary" protective services, there remain questions of timeliness, funding, and oversight of this program.
The Panel believes that the United States Government's response to the need for protection of certain diplomatic premises has been inadequate and inconsistent. The logical and most professional course of action would be the placement of the nationwide responsibility of diplomatic premise protection into one agency with broad authority and sufficient resources. The Department of State should be able to ensure a professional response to any threatened foreign mission. The personnel assigned to protect a consulate in Los Angeles should be as effective as those assigned to an embassy in Washington, D.C. Thus, the Panel supports a broadening of authority and resources of the Uniformed Division of the Secret Service for the protection of all foreign missions in the United States. If this course of action is not possible, then the Department of State should recruit and train its own personnel, as a separate office of the Diplomatic Security Service for the purpose of protecting all threatened foreign missions. If this course is followed in the near term, consideration should eventually be given to consolidating all uniformed protection personnel within the DSS.
The Uniformed Division of the Secret Service does not provide personal protective services to resident diplomats. Although the Department of State does have the authority to provide the personal protective services to threatened diplomats, it traditionally has used its own agents for limited personal protective services to a few accredited ambassadors and other diplomats. The Department sometimes contracts with local police or private firms for the provision of "extraordinary" protective services (those services not typically performed by law enforcement agencies) for the few highly threatened resident diplomats. The Panel believes that the goal of the USG should be to provide adequate general coverage of resident diplomats except in those few extreme occasions when a diplomat is truly threatened.
The Panel recognizes the difficulties inherent in hiring local contractors to perform protective duties in the United States, regardless of competency. Some private companies are unable to obtain weapon permits from certain states. There are many restrictions regarding interstate travel by persons carrying weapons who are not sworn law enforcement officers. Contract employees can make arrests only when acting as private citizens. There are complex legal issues involved. Some law enforcement agencies will not cooperate with or impart information to local contractors. Yet, many police agencies have their own limitations including jurisdictional restrictions and inadequate resources. There are questions regarding the meaning of "extraordinary". protection. The problem is still evolving and the Panel believes that protective requests may increase in the future. Thus, it is the Panel's desire to see the Department itself ultimately apply its own resources to the protection of threatened foreign Chiefs of Missions as the need arises. The Department of State should review its current and future expectations of protective requests for threatened foreign diplomats and justify resources as necessary.
The Panel recognizes that until the basic responsibility for protection of foreign missions and resident diplomats is clarified and streamlined, the Department must seek the assistance of local police agencies and contract guard companies. The Department of State now has authorization and funds under the Foreign Missions Act to reimburse local or state authorities nationwide for "extraordinary". protective services performed at the behest and under the supervision of the Department of State. The Department has not yet issued formal guidelines for reimbursement. This extraordinary protection" constitutes both personal and facility protection. In those instances in which state and local authorities cannot provide the protection required, this authorization permits the Department to employ the services of licensed and responsible private security firms to perform the duties. However, Congress limited the amount of the funds available to any one state to 20% of the allotted total. Yet, some states have no diplomatic representation while other states, such as New York and California, have an extraordinary number of foreign missions. Many local police agencies cannot or will not provide continuous, extraordinary protective services for a resident diplomat either because of resource drain or because this is not a function typically performed by municipal police.
The Department should seek an amendment to the existing legislation contained in the Foreign Missions Act. The modifications should permit full payment to those agencies requested by the Department to provide more extraordinary protective services to foreign missions or resident diplomats than is currently stipulated by the 20% limitation. Further, the Department should immediately issue uniform guidelines for reimbursement.
The Panel believes that if the Department continues to rely heavily upon local police agencies and private contractors for resources to provide "extraordinary". protective requests, it is important that the level of service provided by any agency or company adhere to acceptable standards of performance. The Department of State should insure that acceptable levels of competence, performance and training are provided to any organization acting on the Department's behalf.
The Protective Liaison Division currently within the Office of Security performs a vital function. It coordinates information received overseas and domestically with local, state, and federal agencies. It appears to the Panel that this office is critically understaffed. This office does much more than coordinate protective activities: at times it serves as the only link between other agencies on a broad array of issues. The office should be expanded to contain personnel from all divisions that need representation and it should have appropriate exchanges and liaison personnel with a number of departments and offices and local law enforcement agencies.
The Inman Report