Congressman Faleomavaega today announced that he responded to a recent inquiry from KHJ Radio in American Samoa regarding the presence of federal law enforcement agents at Pago Pago International Airport in Tafuna, American Samoa. In response to the inquiry, Faleomavaega stated that federal security surveillances are a common occurrence months in advance for any federal V.I.P. visit or stopover anywhere in the United States or abroad.
In general, for Presidential visits, teams of security personnel travel in advance to assess needs for manpower, equipment, hospitals and evacuation routes for emergencies. Fire, rescue and other public service personnel in the community are alerted and advance agents coordinate all military, federal, state, and local law enforcement representatives along with public safety organizations. There is also a component of advanced protective research to evaluate information received from law enforcement, intelligence agencies and a variety of other sources regarding individuals or groups who may pose a threat to the President.
“I am on record, and so is Governor Togiola, for having invited President Obama to visit American Samoa. In February last year, I wrote to the White House requesting if the President could also stop in American Samoa on his return from Australia to Washington. While I do hope that President Obama will visit us, it is unclear at the moment as to what the security agents are preparing for in American Samoa,” Faleomavaega stated.
“Unfortunately I did not raise the issue again at our meeting with the President at the White House last Friday. But I am not at all surprised if agents are there in Samoa to conduct security surveillance because these things happen many months in advance, especially if there is a likelihood that President Obama will visit. I remind our people that since President Obama took office, the rate of threats against the President has increased 400 percent. This added factor has increased security measures beyond what was the case for all former presidents,” Faleomavaega stated.
“There is a wide range of comprehensive logistics and preparation that are carried out especially if it’s a Presidential visit. When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stopped over in American Samoa last November, at my request, security surveillance also took place in advance in preparation for her arrival.”
“I do hope that President Obama will visit us while he is President and should he decide to visit American Samoa, our people would be honored to receive him. However, I would like to stress the point that announcements about a Presidential visit are not made until plans are firm. In this instance, I am confident that any high ranking federal official who visits American Samoa will be greeted with the same hospitality and warmth that notable public figures have experienced in years past. When and if there may be a visit by President Obama, I am sure the White House will inform my office and I will be happy to share that information with everyone once we are permitted, although right now we do not know if a visit is expected,” Faleomavaega concluded.