The nation’s top security officials, well aware of the divisive presidential campaign and reports of nearly 100 planned demonstrations at Inauguration, are leaving nothing to chance.
The “unprecedented presidential campaign” has resulted in comprehensive security and contingency plans for the inauguration, said Bill Callahan, deputy director of the U.S. Secret Service.
A long line of security officials including Callahan and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson spoke to reporters at the Multi-Agency Communications Center (MACC) in Dulles, Va.
More than 47 different agencies are represented in the MACC, Callahan said.
“Our strategy has been to develop a security plan that will create a safe and secure environment for everyone—those attending the inauguration, as well as those who will be exercising their First Amendment rights,” Callahan said.
Among those working together are the Transportation Security Administration, Capitol Police, U.S. Park Police, Federal Bureau of Investigation, D.C. National Guard and Federal Protective Service, among many others.
This inauguration, which is a series of events from Jan. 19-21, has been designated a National Special Security Event, which means U.S. Secret Service is responsible for security.
“We know of no specific credible threat directed toward the inauguration,” Johnson said. “However, that is only part of the story.”
Various agencies have estimated a crowd of between 700,000 and 900,000 people, Johnson said. So far, 99 different organizations intend to demonstrate in the area over the three days, some pro and some con, he said.
Demonstration groups, so long as they are nonviolent, will be allowed to exercise their First Amendment rights in public areas, including areas such as the parade route, Johnson confirmed.
“We therefore have done a lot to plan for the public safety and security of these events,” Johnson said. “To be on guard against acts of violence, demonstrations that get out of hand, and to provide for a safe and secure presidential inauguration.”
To do this, there will be some 28,000 officials and personnel coordinated and dedicated to the security of next week’s events, Johnson said.
“It’s safe to assume that we are aware of a full range of reports of different types of planned activities,” Johnson said. “And in any event such as this, special precautions are taken to ensure that the official event cannot be disrupted.”
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