How the Diplomatic Security Service protects dignitaries in NYC during UN General Assembly

Currently in its 78th session, the annual United Nations General Assembly brings world leaders together, which means not only gridlock on the streets but a huge increase in security.

Diplomats are not only inside the UN headquarters but also moving around New York City, requiring multiple agencies to work together to keep dignitaries safe. 

That's where the Diplomatic Security Service comes in.

Officially formed in 1985, although its origins go back to 1916, the DSS is the principal security and law enforcement agency of the United States Department of State and is tasked with protecting diplomatic assets, personnel, and more. 


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Special Agent Dua Quraishi is a member of the DSS, and is assigned to protect the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

"It is my job to make sure that venues she is going to are secure," said Special Agent Quraishi.

There are hundreds of special agents working alongside her during the UN General Assembly

"We will go to the venue in advance and make sure that it’s safe," she said.

The ultimate goals are defined in the mission.

"Our main mission is to protect the protectee from harm and embarrassment," she said.