Collections Update: Bureau of Diplomatic Security

Collections Update: Bureau of Diplomatic Security

The National Law Enforcement Museum recently received a donation of items related to the Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS).

Diplomatic Security’s global mission is to protect people, property and information. They ensure the safety and security of the Department of State’s foreign policy missions both in the United States and internationally. DS protects U.S. workers serving abroad and foreign dignitaries visiting the U.S., investigates passport and visa fraud, and assists in international investigations, including counter-terrorism efforts.
Pins: Bureau of Diplomatic Security, 1954-1967. 2012.5.29 – 2012.5.36. Collection of the National Law Enforcement Museum, Washington, DC.

The collection donated to the Museum includes the Bureau of Diplomatic Security’s “Year in Review” serials for the past seven years, brochures identifying the various roles and responsibilities of DS, along with posters, books, a uniform, and eight lapel pins.

The lapel pins are particularly significant. Each foreign dignitary, or VIP, has his or her own pin design, which is worn by the protective special agents assigned to that detail. The pins include those of President Sean O’Kelly of Ireland (1959), President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines (1966), President Celâl Bayar of Turkey (1954), President Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia (1963), President-elect Artur da Costa e Silva of Brazil (1967), King Hussein I of Jordan (1964), and President Léopold Senghor of Senegal (1966). The pins were worn by DS agents assigned to protect these high-profile individuals during their visits to the United States. 

Matchbooks: Bureau of Diplomatic Security Rewards for Justice Program, featuring Usama bin Laden (left) and Saddam Hussein (right), ca. 2004-2005. 2012.5.23 and 2012.5.24. Collection of the National Law Enforcement Museum, Washington, DC.
Two matchbooks are also part of this collection and help tell the story of DS’s role in capturing foreign terrorists through the Rewards for Justice Program. As its name suggests, this program offers rewards to individuals who provide information and assistance in arresting or convicting terrorists working against the United States. It has seen many successes, including an arrest related to the bombing of the World Trade Centers. DS advertises the Rewards for Justice Program through its website, paid ads in public media, posters, and matchbooks.

This fascinating collection introduces us to an important law enforcement agency that is not as well known as some others. Through these items, we catch a glimpse of what the Bureau of Diplomatic Security is and why their work is significant to the overall story of law enforcement in America. DS works hard to secure Americans abroad and ensure the safety of all involved in our foreign diplomacy, no matter where they are. 

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