Title: SCS and Executive Protection
Release Date: 2017-04-24
Document Date: 2004-08-18
Description: The Special Collection Service collects SIGINT from covert bases located at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world, staffed with personnel from both the NSA and CIA. When VIPs travel, the SCS's Special Operations Division focuses on collecting communications intelligence surrounding the visit, including surveilling the communications of the host country's police and security services.
Document: DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS
TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL
(S//SI) SCS and Executive Protection
NSA Representative to the Secret Service (S112)
Run Date: 08/18/2004
(S//SI) You may know that the Special Collection Service (SCS) is a joint NSA-CIA organization
whose mission is to covertly collect SIGINT from official U.S. establishments abroad, such as
embassies and consulates. Do you also know that SCS helps protect top-level U.S. officials when
they travel overseas? One of SCS's duties is to assist in Executive Protection, working directly
with U.S. Secret Service (USSS) and local CIA Station personnel to provide tactical local support.
(S//SI) Executive Protection Operations, also known as close support, is the number one priority
for the SCS Special Operations Division (SOD). SCS was formally tasked to provide "real-time"
SIGINT support for USSS Executive Protection of the President of the United States (POTUS) and
the Vice President of the United States (VPOTUS) in July 1979. SOD responds to close support
requirements levied by the U.S. Secret Service whenever these or (occasionally) other U.S.
officials travel abroad. If the VIP is traveling to an area where there is a permanent SCS site,
that site is tasked to provide close support. If there is no permanent SCS site, SOD deploys a
three to five person team to the location, usually several days in advance of the VIP's travel
(S//SI) SCS typically supports anywhere from 10 to 15 Executive Protection missions a year;
however this can vary depending on world events. In early 2002, SCS supported unprecedented
back-to-back VPOTUS and POTUS trips involving twenty stops and requiring support from twelve
SCS fixed sites and eight SOD-deployed close support teams.
(S//SI//REL) Close support teams scan the VHF/UHF spectrum for indications of threat activity
against the VIP or host government, movements or activities of known terrorists in the host
country, and demonstrations or potential riots. They also conduct sustained monitoring of host
government security services, police communications and airport frequencies. The equipment
suite used by SOD deployed teams is capable of monitoring and recording the RF range of
20Mhz to 1Ghz. It consists of an integrated receiver/processing platform capable of monitoring
UHF/VHF PTT and cellular communications.
(S//SI//REL) The teams activate 24-hour coverage prior to the arrival of the VIP and remain
operational until the protectee departs. Close support operations are normally staged out of the
U.S. Embassy, Consulate or from a hotel room in close proximity to the VIP or venue. SCS
works closely with Secret Service Intelligence Division (ID) Special Agents (SA) who maintain a
24-hour presence in the SCS workroom and have an ID SA lead with the protective detail that
escorts the VIP. Any threat-related SIGINT that impacts on the executive is immediately passed
to the on-site USSS agent and to NSA.
(TS//SI//REL) On a number of occasions, host-country officials have been aware of threatrelated incidents and for whatever reason have been unwilling to share that information with the
Secret Service protective details. SCS close support operations have successfully intercepted
these types of communications on multiple occasions and tipped the USSS ID Special Agents.
During the 1996 APEC Summit in Manila, for example, SCS intercepted Philippine police
communications discussing a bomb located on a bridge in Former POTUS Clinton's motorcade
route. Local authorities were attempting to quietly dismantle the bomb without notifying USSS.
As a result of SCS close support, Secret Service was able to divert the motorcade to an
alternative route. Similar adjustments have resulted from close support intercepts discussing
local demonstrations and other potential incidents.
(S//SI) SCS/SOD continues to work to improve its support to the Secret Service's protective
mission. Recently, it established standard procedures with the White House Communications
Agency (WHCA) for shipping and storing collection equipment when SOD is deploying to
locations where no U.S. embassy or consulate exist or when time constraints preclude diplomatic
pouching. In order to provide better real-time SIGINT support, SOD is exploring opportunities to
increase bandwidth to the close support operations, possibly through WHCA resources, to enable
collection and processing of GSM cellular communications in the field.
(S//SI) In addition, SOD and Secret Service ID have made significant steps to expand secure
communications both in the field and back to headquarters. Secure wireless phones and STEs
(Secure Terminal Equipment) allow all concerned ID agents - those working in the SCS work
room, the ID lead with the protectee, and the ID Fusion Center at USSS Headquarters -- to
communicate securely with each other. Most recently, SCS/SOD has established secure VoIP
connectivity between the USSS ID Fusion Center and three SCS sites in Greece in support of
executive protection for Former POTUS Bush who, along with over two-dozen family members,
will be attending the summer Olympics.
"(U//FOUO) SIDtoday articles may not be republished or reposted outside NSANet
without the consent of S0121 (DL sid_comms)."
DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS
TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL
DERIVED FROM: NSA/CSSM 1-52, DATED 08 JAN 2007 DECLASSIFY ON: 20320108