During today's inauguration activities, besides the usual security provided to the President and Vice President of the United States and their families, the United States Secret Service is working with its local, state and federal security, public safety and military partners. It could be convincingly argued the safest location on the entire planet was the area in which President Barack Obama uttered the oath of office during the 57th Presidential Inaugural, said a former Washington, D.C., physical security manager and consultant Joseph Whelan.
Whelan, who also served as a major in the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigation Division, noted that besides the manpower, the physical security measures included closed-circuit television (CCTV, including roving hidden cameras, strategically placed barriers, weapons detectors, and state-of-the-art communications equipment. A key component, Whelan said, was the K-9 Units deployed by both federal and local law enforcement agencies.
The Obama inauguration, as is customary, is designated as a National Special Security Event (NSSE). When an event is designated an NSSE, the Secret Service assumes its role as the lead federal agency for the design and implementation of the operational security plan.
The Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), the U.S. Capitol Police and the U.S. Park Police as well as a number of other local, state and federal agencies, play a critical operational role in securing the Inauguration and resources are deployed to maintain the appropriate level of security.
In addition to law enforcement and security agencies, nearly 6,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen are involved in supporting law enforcement, according to Tyrone Marshall of the American Forces Press Service.
Some Obama detractors noted that there was no skimping on security "for the swells who were invited to participate in the lavish festival-atmosphere inaugural today."
Political strategist Jeffrey Knowles notes that when private citizens purchase so-called assault weapons or gun magazines that carry more than 10 rounds, the same people attending Obama's inauguration claim that civilian gun owners don't need such weaponry.
"Even if that's accurate, what the heck does 'need' have to do with it? We don´t "need" hundreds of daily newspapers in the country either, or hundreds of TV channels, or thousands and thousands of books. There is no "need" to bear arms -- only the right to do so, guaranteed by the Constitution," Knowles said.