News emerged yesterday of a rather unsettling occurrence at Obama's rally in Dallas on Wednesday, 2/20/08. Apparently, the Secret Service decided that after an hour of checking bags and purses of those entering the arena, they would stop screening the crowd of over 17,000 for weapons. They literally took down the metal detectors at the doorways and began waving people through "without even a cursory inspection."
The Secret Service was in charge of security at the event, but Dallas police officers were present, and apparently voiced some concern about this lapse in security. It is unclear at this time whether the campaign ordered the stop in order to fill seats quickly, or if the Secret Service made the call. If the campaign did order officers to allow people inside without inspections, it can be attributed to poor judgment, valuing filled seats for the TV cameras over the security of their candidate. Yet if it was the Secret Service who decided to expose Barack Obama to potentially armed crazies hiding behind an Obama t-shirt, that is a whole different issue. The insinuations and implications could run rampant, and I don't want to accuse that agency of intentionally putting a candidate in danger, but let just say I am definitely suspicious.
Obama is far from unpopular, and public threats towards his candidacy are rare, but images of incidents in LA in 1968, and in that very city, Dallas, in 1963, are brought to mind. No one wants to see those horrors replayed, and whoever is responsible for this reprehensible lapse in security and judgment needs to take note.
Update: So the Secret Service has released a statement, courtesy of the Dallas Star-Telegram. From that article,
"There were no security lapses at that venue," said Eric Zahren, a spokesman for the Secret Service in Washington. He added there was "no deviation" from the "comprehensive and layered" security plan, implemented in "very close cooperation with our law enforcement partners."Sounds good, glad to hear ya'll had it covered. So why didn't those last few thousand folks get searched?
"We would not want, by providing those details, to have people trying to derive ways in which they could defeat the security at any particular venue," Zahren said.Oh, yeah, thats right, I forgot the plot for a second there. "State Secrets." The Usual. Gotcha.
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