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Maybe folks will pay attention to the Dallas Obama security breach now

Yesterday I blogged about Jack Douglas’s report in the Star-Telegram that the security detail at an Obama rally in Dallas stopped screening for weapons an hour before the candidate went on stage.

The order to put down the metal detectors and stop checking purses and laptop bags came as a surprise to several Dallas police officers who said they believed it was a lapse in security.

Dallas Deputy Police Chief T.W. Lawrence, head of the Police Department’s homeland security and special operations divisions, said the order — apparently made by the U.S. Secret Service — was meant to speed up the long lines outside and fill the arena’s vacant seats before Obama came on.

The silence in the blogosphere was deafening, though now that Drudge (for what it’s worth, with all his traffic) has it blasted across his front page, perhaps there will be more coverage.  Why was there so little discussion of what is a horrendous security breach? As I said earlier, there is a 500+ comment thread about the security issue over in a recommended diary at DKos, but a good bit of the debate there was whether the diary should be on the recommended list, as if discussing the subject “aloud” was dangerous. Contemplating potential outcomes of a security breach or assassination attempt is simply a reality. Talking about it doesn’t make it occur. I doubt any of the assassins in history needed any prodding from the public discussion of the topic to be motivated to do their evil.

This isn’t an isolated incident; if you peruse the DKos diary, there are plenty of folks describing the lack of security at some events they attended and others where it was tight. It’s not consistent, and a running theme, not surprisingly, is that the crowds Obama draws are so large and enthusiastic, that security appears to be overwhelmed and people flow in unscreened.

The difference in this particular case is that a reporter for a newspaper interviewed a law enforcement officer in Dallas who basically let the dangerous cat out of the bag. Dallas Deputy Police Chief T.W. Lawrence, head of the Police Department’s homeland security and special operations divisions:

“Sure,” said Lawrence, when asked if he was concerned by the great number of people who had gotten into the building without being checked. But, he added, the turnout of more than 17,000 people seemed to be a “friendly crowd.”

WTF? That’s not security folks. Not even close.

What alarmed me was the timing of this, as I learned about this breach after reading earlier in the day about the Southern Poverty Law Center’s report of increasing threatening discussions about Obama on hate sites, as well as a conference launching today in Virginia of “academic racial-realists” who plan to discuss “the challenges of non-white immigration-politicians and the media dare not discuss what these things mean for whites and their civilization.”

We all should be concerned about this, because the Obamas have mulled over the risks of doing this campaign (as does every person that runs for president), and they rely upon the professionals in the United States Secret Service, as well as local law enforcement where they appear, to make prudent decisions about screening people in venues large and small. We don’t need to know how it’s accomplished, we do need to know that they aren’t falling down on the job.  

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding