Francs’ stops in Washington, Philadelphia, and New York are designated as national special security events, a consideration that’s been given to inaugurations, presidential nomination conventions, some major international meetings, and even the Winter Olympics. And collaborating agencies have been practicing: from dry runs at the Capitol with a fake pope on Sept. 1 and Sept. 14 to tabletop exercises in the three cities that the pope will visit from Tuesday until Sunday.
Officials are taking an abundance of security precautions. All attendees will undergo a security screening before entering the pope’s D.C. events and his motorcade route. Tickets are required for all Washington events, except the parade. Streets within a three-block radius of the Capitol will be closed starting Thursday at midnight in anticipation of Francis’ address to Congress, with a host of other road closures throughout the pope’s times in Washington.
The Secret Service will have covert assets, said Mickey Nelson, a former assistant director now at Command Consulting Group, although perhaps not of the fake monk variety.
"I don't think there will be a need to go to that extent... this time. But they will be using a lot of things that are not visible that the general public- anybody attending the event - will never see and never have the need to see, as far as security assets [go]"
"The Secret Service never wants security to be the focus of any event"