Secret Service ‘monitors’ threat environment ahead of Asia-Pacific summit


Leaders of Pacific nations will gather in San Francisco for the 2023 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in San Francisco next week – and the US Secret Service has a plan to thwart threats amid escalating international tensions.

With wars continuing in multiple regions around the world and a high threat environment, leaders of the Secret Service – the agency responsible for securing the event – say they are not taking any chances.

“We are always monitoring the current environment and potential threats,” Secret Service Director Kim Cheadle told ABC News in an interview. “We have seen, clearly, over the past several years groups, protesters or individuals use large-scale events to attract attention or gain an audience to get their point across, and so we, at the Secret Service, clearly respect people’s right to demonstrate peacefully.”

Cheadle said the Secret Service is working with the FBI and other agencies receiving intelligence and will “adjust our security posture accordingly” to coordinate with local law enforcement.

The APEC event is designated a National Special Security Event (NSSC) by the Secretary of Homeland Security and places the Secret Service in charge of planning and coordinating the event. Other NSSC events include the Super Bowl and the United Nations General Assembly.

Cheadle says the Secret Service provides “a number” of resources to secure major events such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

“We bring in people. We bring in technical assets and a number of necessary resources,” she said.

Law enforcement leaders said one of the most troubling threats is that of a lone wolf actor. Because Secret Service agents’ primary responsibility is to protect the president, they are well-equipped to combat that threat, Cheadle said.

“It’s important to note that the Secret Service has a responsibility to protect the president in day-to-day events, and that’s something that’s always on our radar. … Obviously, this is a larger event in terms of size and scope, so we may bring in different assets or more assets,” she said. To mitigate these potential threats. “But this is something the Secret Service is acutely aware of every day.”

21 heads of state are scheduled to attend the APEC summit, including President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping. They are expected to meet during the summit.

China’s presence is noteworthy given the country’s increasingly aggressive moves in the Indo-Pacific region, where Xi has instructed his military to be “ready by 2027” to invade Taiwan, according to US intelligence.

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