Special agents protecting U.S. athletes in Tokyo

A flag bearing the Olympic Rings is displayed on the south pitch during field hockey practices at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 23, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A flag bearing the Olympic Rings is displayed on the south pitch during field hockey practices at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 23, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Tokyo – They provide the moments, the excitement, and the memories that will last a lifetime. For three weeks in the summer the athletes are the focus. But there is a special group of Americans keeping watch over Team USA.

“We’re the law enforcement arm of the U.S. Department of State,” said Scott Schonauer a special agent with the Diplomatic Security Service.

The DSS is assigned to our U.S. athletes while they are in Japan for the Games. The agents are normally tasked with protecting the secretary of state but their focus has shifted for the summer.

“Our biggest concern is always anything security related,” Schonauer said. “That’s what our purpose here is to make sure that Team USA in a safe and secure environment.”

Watch KPRC2′s Keith Garvin’s full report here.

That environment includes the Tatsumi Water Polo Centre where KPRC2 was invited inside a particular detail. Special Agent Heidi Sieber has been given watch over the women’s water polo team. Where they go she goes.

“We’re here to keep the athletes safe,” Sieber said. “So they can focus on their competitions and then they don’t have to worry about security concerns.”

Sieber says while the pandemic has made these Olympics an uncommon experience for all, her job is to keep her eyes open for the usual threats of a high profile event such as the Games. And while these agents are dong their jobs -- they admit this one is special. Special agents on special assignment for a very special team of Americans.

“Very unique, very special,” Sieber said. “It’s a huge honor for me and I’m very excited to be here.”

A number of those special agents are based at the U.S. embassy in Tokyo but many come from the States or other parts of the world to be a part of this special detail.


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