Local police documents that detailed security protocols for President Joe Biden’s visit to Northern Ireland were discovered Wednesday on a Belfast street, according to a USA Today report. The report occurred amid heightened security concerns and a rash of political violence in Northern Ireland, where the government is currently locked in a legislative stalemate.
A local man found the security documents after police in Belfast reportedly lost them, according to the report, which cited a U.S. law enforcement official. Reportedly, the documents listed details of the names of Belfast police officers and their locations but did not contain any Secret Service information.
The findings come as Northern Ireland’s terrorism threat was raised to “severe” ahead of the president’s visit to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement that ended a decades-long civil war.
Tuesday, Belfast police confiscated four suspected pipe bombs in a cemetery located around 70 miles from the university where Biden spoke from later in the day, according to a Reuters report.
Monday, masked attackers threw petrol bombs and other objects at a police vehicle during a protest against the Good Friday pact.
National Security spokesperson John Kirby expressed confidence in safety protocols
U.S. National Security spokesperson John Kirby expressed confidence in Northern Ireland safety protocols ahead of President Biden’s visit. When speaking to reporters Monday, he said, “We don’t ever talk about security requirements of protecting the president, but the president is more than comfortable making this trip, and he’s very excited to do it.”
The president urged the Northern Irish government to unify amid the stalemate in the legislature sparked by post-Brexit trade concerns.
“Your history is our history, but more importantly, your future is America’s future,” said Biden on Wednesday from Ulster University. Earlier, the president met with U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak before meeting with five leaders of Northern Ireland’s political parties.
Biden is the first Irish-Catholic president since John F. Kennedy Jr. He was scheduled to travel to the Republic of Ireland later Wednesday to spend three days in the country before a speech to Dublin’s parliament.
The Belfast security breach comes as U.S. Defense officials are reeling from a growing leak of top-secret military documents on social media that uncovered intelligence findings about the United States’ predictions for Ukraine’s war against Russia and revelations that crucial U.S. allies are cozying up with the Kremlin.
The leak included hundreds of documents published on social media sites, including Twitter and the Russia-backed Telegram app, first reported in the New York Times last week. Officials with the Department of Defense were reportedly shocked by the leak and haven’t removed the files from social media or determined its origin.