November 14, 2012 00:00 By Jirapong Prasertpolkrang,
Huge security team with armoured limo, Black Hawk, the CIA, marines, and water
The US security team will bring drinking water for President Barack Obama and his entourage during his visit to Thailand on Sunday and Monday, according to a source familiar with the security preparations.
“I hear that the White House team will bring their own drinking water for the president and his team. This is to prevent any poisoning or contamination,” said the source.
The Government House source added that a similar security precaution was observed when former US president George W Bush and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the Kingdom.
“The Thai officials involved [in the preparation for Obama’s visit] are going insane. America is the only country so fussy with their visits. When we visited the White House, we could not request anything. And when they visit us, we again can’t request anything from them,” the source complained about the long list of requirements from the American side.
On his first foreign trip after his re-election last week, US President Barack Obama will be guarded by more than 1,000 members of his security detail and some 500 Thai soldiers and police when he visits Thailand on Sunday and Monday.
The security detail will include officials from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Marines Corps.
Obama’s Air Force One aircraft will be accompanied here by planes carrying his armoured limousines, hi-tech weapons, and a Black Hawk helicopter.
Between 400 and 500 police and military officers – from the Army and the Air Force – will form the Thai security team for Obama during his visit here. The police team includes officers from the Special Branch, Metropolitan Police Bureau, as well as commando and bomb disposal units. The military officers will be from the National Security Centre, Counter-Terrorism Operations Centre, and the Air Force’s Security Force Command, which will be responsible for taking care of Air Force One to be parked at the military airport.
The US president’s advance security team surveyed the Government House compound for the second day yesterday in preparation for his visit.
They came with officials from the US Embassy and the group members numbered some 20, less than half of those surveying the premises on Monday.
The American team was accompanied by Government House officials and some 20 police officers from the Special Branch. The inspection yesterday focused on the interior of Thai Khufah and Santi Maitri buildings, where a reception ceremony for Obama will take place.
Reporters were not allowed to observe the survey and Special Branch police declined to give details about it.
After Thailand, Obama, in his second term in office, is scheduled to visit Myanmar on Monday, where he is to meet President Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. On Tuesday, Obama will fly to Cambodia, where he will meet with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations during their 21st summit.