Friday, January 16, 2009
Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) — When senior FBI official Joseph Persichini takes his 5 a.m. jog down Washington’s National Mall, he imagines everything that could go wrong at Barack Obama’s inaugural next week.
He said he thinks about the possibility of a sleet storm, bombing, chemical attack or — perhaps hardest to guard against — the lone gunman bent on turning a celebration into a national tragedy.
“I’m thinking about what the schedule is, and what we’re doing, and what are the issues we’re facing,” said Persichini, assistant director in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Washington Field Office. “You don’t understand the magnitude until you go out there right on the Mall.”
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As many as 2 million people — double the number for any previous inauguration — are expected to fill the Mall on Jan. 20 to witness the swearing-in of the first black president.
While officials said they haven’t received any credible threats, they have prepared an unprecedented security effort. It will be overseen by the U.S. Secret Service and will include 7,500 active-duty soldiers, 10,000 National Guard troops and 25,000 law-enforcement officers, security officials said. Federal officials haven’t projected the total cost, though Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia said they are spending tens of millions of dollars.
This article was posted: Friday, January 16, 2009 at 1:16 pm