Pope Francis, to cheering crowds and a presidential reception, touched down in the U.S. Tuesday afternoon, beginning a historic visit that also will pose a historic security challenge for the officers patrolling his itinerary.
The pope’s six-day, three-city visit will be the biggest, multiple-day security event in Department of Homeland Security history.
The Secret Service, whose task is only complicated by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit later this week, will lead the multi-agency operation for the pope’s visit, with DHS declaring it a “national special security event.”
Joining the operation are the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and reportedly as many as 50 other federal, state and local agencies, as the pope makes public appearances in Washington through Thursday before heading to New York and Philadelphia. He is scheduled to leave Sunday.
In addition, the Federal Aviation Administration has declared the air space in and around the cities “No Drone Zones” — warning those who fly or attempt to fly a small, unmanned aircraft that they risk criminal charges.
Federal law enforcement sources told Fox News they have no specific credible threats tied to the pope’s visit. However, Texas GOP Rep. Mike McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, told ABC News last week that the U.S. law enforcement and intelligence community had uncovered threats to the pope’s visit and thwarted at least one.
Read More: Pope Francis arrives in US for historic visit — with historic levels of security | Fox News