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Pence’s security detail raises eyebrows in peaceful Iceland

Vice President Pence meets with Icelandic Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir at Keflavik Airport on Wednesday at the end of a seven-hour visit to Iceland. Jakobsdottir had initially announced she would not be able to meet Pence because of a prior commitment, but the two merged schedules days before Pence's arrival.  (Egill Bjarnason/AP)

Vice President Pence and his extensive security detail raised eyebrows on Wednesday as they traveled through the capital city of Iceland, a famously peaceful country where its president travels alone on private errands.

Pence was the first U.S. vice president to visit Iceland since George H.W. Bush went to Reykjavik in 1983, similarly causing a stir with his “attendant paraphernalia of Air Force Two, bulletproof limousines and White House telecommunication equipment,” The Washington Post reported at the time.
Weeks before Pence’s visit, Secret Service personnel were seen in the city scouting out locations, the Associated Press reported. Bomb-sniffing dogs were given special clearance to enter the country, and police officers from outside the capital were sent in to help the Reykjavik police meet security 

standards set by the United States. During the visit Wednesday, U.S. security personnel — who had to be given special permission to bear arms — trailed the vice president through the city. When Pence met with Icelandic officials, snipers were seen perched on the rooftops of nearby buildings, the AP wrote.

“The scale of Pence’s visit, not least the security arrangements, are greater than ever seen in Iceland before,” added RUV, the country’s national broadcasting service.
It is not uncommon for U.S. leaders to travel with a large security detail — President Barack Obama’s 2015 visit to New Delhi reportedly sent it into a lockdown — but such visits can be particularly challenging for smaller countries.

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