Unprecedented Security Planned for Obama Inauguration

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is expected to enter office in a Jan. 20 ceremony featuring more security than any presidential inauguration in history, the McClatchy News Service reported Friday (see GSN, Dec. 18, 2008; Greg Gordon, McClatchy News Service/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jan. 9).

Obama's new, armored presidential limousine includes an interior completely closed off from the outside environment to protect against a chemical strike, Agence France-Presse reported (Agence France-Presse/Google News, Jan. 8). The vehicle would be followed during the inaugural parade by black vans filled with SWAT teams and counterassault forces, advanced communication systems and electronic scramblers designed to prevent remote-controlled bombs from detonating, McClatchy reported.

Planners are concealing chemical and biological-weapon sensors around the National Mall, where between 2 million and 4 million spectators are expected to gather for the cermony. Roughly 10,000 law enforcement personnel from more than 100 federal, state and local police agencies are participating in the inauguration's security effort.

There have already been a number of threats against the president-elect. Shortly before the November election, authorities foiled a suspected neo-Nazi plot to assassinate Obama. More recently, an al-Qaeda leader said in a video statement that Obama was responsible for Israel's recent military action in the Gaza Strip (Gordon, McClatchy News Service).

January 12, 2009
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U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is expected to enter office in a Jan. 20 ceremony featuring more security than any presidential inauguration in history, the McClatchy News Service reported Friday (see GSN, Dec. 18, 2008; Greg Gordon, McClatchy News Service/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jan. 9).