Posted by Sharon Schendel on Aug 11, 2019
Craig Mattei speaks about his career in the Diplomatic Security Service
President Brett Mattei’s younger brother, Craig Mattei, was our featured speaker at the August 8, 2019 meeting. Craig serves in the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), the federal law enforcement and security arm of the United States Department of State, and is the Liaison for Diplomatic Security to the U.S. Capitol and White House. In that capacity he coordinates with U.S. Capitol Police, the House and Senate Sergeants at Arms, and the Secret Service to ensure the safety of visiting foreign dignitaries. He also frequently accompanies Congressional leadership on trips overseas as a security advisor.
At around 2,000 agents, the number of the DSS force is small in comparison to other federal law enforcement entities- consider that the U.S. Capitol Police, that carries out the challenging task of providing security to Congress and the U.S. Capitol complex, has around 1,500 members to patrol a roughly six block area of Washington, whereas the DSS serves across the globe as the most widely represented law enforcement entity in the world. Despite its size, the DSS is versatile and can fulfill security needs that bridge several areas. Craig said that these broad-ranging capabilities make the DSS akin to a Swiss Army knife, which has multiple tools in a small package. In addition to protecting foreign government officials, the DSS conducts passport and visa fraud investigations as well as administers counterintelligence and anti-terrorism programs. The DSS is also charged with protecting the United States Olympic Team during the games. One of Craig’s earliest assignments was as the security liaison for the United States Women’s Water Polo team at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. On an annual basis, Craig said that the “Super Bowl” for DSS is providing security for thousands of diplomats attending the UN General Assembly held in New York City every September.
Craig joined the DSS in 2002. When he first moved to Washington DC he moved in with his brother Brett, who was already working for the Foreign Service. Craig was also part of the security team that was guaranteed to Hamid Karzai by Colin Powell as incentive to become Interim President in Afghanistan in 2004. Most recently, Craig was preparing to assume the role of Regional Security Officer in Cartagena, Columbia when his current position, which provides him with more stability for his family, became available. Life as a DSS agent has taken Craig all over the world- he’s traveled on behalf of DSS to over 50 countries.  He said that for him and his fellow DSS agents, politics is never a factor in their job, which is to ensure the safety and security of diplomats, foreign and domestic protected persons, and US citizens alike.