U.S. Disrupts Security Threat To Pope Francis Ahead Of Visit | Independent Newspapers Limited
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U.S. Disrupts Security Threat To Pope Francis Ahead Of Visit

Posted: Sep 15, 2015 at 12:24 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The U.S. has disrupted a plot targeting Pope Francis ahead of his visit to America later this month, according to security officials.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Congressman Michael McCaul, who is head of the House Homeland Security Committee, said one potential threat has already been stopped and that authorities were monitoring others.

He told ABC News: “The Pope is a very – I’m Catholic, by the way – he is a very passionate man.

“He likes to get out with the people. And with that comes a large security risk.

“We are monitoring very closely threats against the Pope as he comes in to the United States. We have disrupted one case in particular.

“But as that date approaches, I think we’re all very … vigilant to protect him as he comes into the United States.”

Authorities have been preparing for the security challenge of Pope Francis’ visit between 22 September and 27 September.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has said the visit will be a National Special Security Event – meaning the Secret Service will head the planning of security.

The pontiff will get a plane-side greeting from President Barack Obama in Washington DC on 22 September, before becoming the third pope to visit the White House.

He is due to give a speech to the Senate and House of Representatives, address world leaders at the United Nations, preside over a service at the 9/11 memorial in New York and celebrate Mass at Madison Square Garden, among other events.

New York officials announced last week a series of new security measures ahead of the visit, including airspace restrictions, screening checkpoints and a ban on balloons, selfie sticks and backpacks at papal events.

In March, the inspector general of the Vatican’s police force, Domenico Giani, told Polizia Moderna magazine that Islamic State militants could pose a threat to Pope Francis during the visit to the U.S.