The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has named Pittsburgh's G-20 summit in September a "National Special Security Event," meaning the Secret Service will take the lead role in security planning for the gathering of world leaders.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano officially made the designation on Tuesday, according to Special Agent in Charge James Gehr of the Secret Service's Pittsburgh office.
"It doesn't happen often," Agent Gehr said.
The Jan. 20 inauguration of President Barack Obama in Washington, DC was also a National Special Security Event.
"Federal resources are deployed to maintain the level of security needed for the event and the area," according to the Department of Homeland Security Web site. "The goal of such an operation is to prevent terrorist attacks and criminal acts."
The Secret Service will work closely with local and state law enforcement agencies to prepare, Agent Gehr said. He predicted that an "executive committee" of lead agencies will meet soon after July 4.
The committee likely will include representatives from the FBI and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but it also will include non-law enforcement organizations involved with event planning.
The executive committee will break down into subcommittees dealing with specific security concerns, including VIP protection, waterways, air space and intelligence gathering.
More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Jerome L. Sherman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1183.