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Mystery VIP was most likely foreign dignitary

By RICHARD D. OXLEY
Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer
October 13, 2012 · 9:22 AM
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The mystery continues.

It's been more than a week since a closely guarded VIP took a ferry ride from Bainbridge Island, but the identity of the individual remains a state secret, according to officials.

The high-profile-but-classified visitor on Oct. 2 was surrounded by a massive security detail in multiple black SUVs, and the ferry itself was escorted by police boats equipped with machine guns.

Early rumors buzzing around the ferry focused on Michelle Obama as the unnamed passenger. The First Lady was expected to be at a fundraiser in Seattle that evening.

Some also speculated that the mystery visitor was Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Dempsey visited the Coast Guard station in Seattle on Oct. 3, and then came to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in Silverdale and toured the submarine USS Maine. He also hosted a town hall meeting with sailors, Marines and their families at the base.

Federal officials, however, offered few clues this week on the Bainbridge visitor.

"All I can really release is that we are responsible for protecting foreign dignitaries while in the states," said Gayle Smith, a public affairs officer for the Bureau of Diplomatic Security in Washington, D.C.

"I cannot confirm or deny who the person was," she added.

The Bureau of Diplomatic Security is in charge of protecting high-profile visitors to the United States. They were also in charge of the security detail that boarded the 7 a.m. ferry from Bainbridge Island to Seattle on Tuesday, Oct. 2.

The commute across the Puget Sound to Seattle required a hefty security detail. Approximately a dozen SUVs rolled onto the ferry before all other passengers. Agents and police officers were also posted around the vessel, and two police boats escorted the ferry throughout its trip.

In the past, the bureau has protected important visitors such as the Dalai Lama, or Prince William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Smith said that the bureau has no plans of releasing the identity of the mystery VIP in the future.


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