Encountering Security for Finland President Niinistö’s Visit to FinnFest 2017

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I popped into the Starbuck’s coffee bar in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel to buy a bottle of fruit juice last Saturday (23 Sep 2017).

In front of me in line were two gentlemen in suits. Both had earpieces and the coiled cable connecting those earpieces to receivers. They chatted briefly — in English — then I asked if they were involved in security. The man closer to me replied that they were. When they turned toward me, I saw they each had a small lapel pin on their suit coats and that the pins were different. The gentleman closer to me acknowledged that he was an agent with the American Secret Service and that he was helping provide security during the visit of Finland’s President Niinistö. I asked if his college was from Finland and he said yes. That gentleman then looked at my FinnFest name badge and we had a brief conversation about my surname, which he recognized as being from Eastern Finland. Both agents were very well-spoken and cordial. As would be expected, there was no exchange of names with the two agents.

During the two events involving appearances by President Niinistö that I attended, I saw no evidence of security details. The agents literally were behind the scenes.

The brief encounter with those American and Finnish security agents in Starbucks was a nice moment, and I’ll remember it as a small highlight of attending FinnFest 2017.

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