I'm still reeling at the breaking news that the U.S. Secret Service called off routine weapons security during Obama's visit in Dallas. According to the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram: "Security details at Barack Obama's rally Wednesday stopped screening people for weapons at the front gates more than an hour before the Democratic presidential candidate took the stage at Reunion Arena. 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."
Campaign Security: WHAT were they thinking?
The newspaper added that the order was apparently given by the U.S. Secret Service, who insist "that it was meant to speed up the long lines outside and fill the arena's vacant seats before Obama came on."
And this happened in Dallas?? What on earth was the U.S. Secret Service thinking? A Secret Service that is under direct command of a Republican President who would rather not see a Democrat in the White House? Oh -- my -- god -- and -- goddess. My good friend John Selig, who lives in Dallas, told me today: "I am shocked and outraged by this!. I live about 2 miles from where the Obama rally was held on Wednesday. For those of you not in Dallas or don't know the area, Reunion Arena is about 1/4 mile away from where President Kennedy was shot and killed in 1963. There have got to be some crazed bigots out there that don't want a African American sitting in the Oval Office."
In a later update today, the Star-Telegram reported, "The U.S. Secret Service on Friday defended its handling of security during a massive rally in downtown Dallas for Barack Obama, saying there was no 'lapse' in its 'comprehensive and layered security plan,' which called for some people to be checked for weapons, while others were not." The newspaper added that it had been inundated with messages -- that there was "public outrage across the country, with most people saying they were shocked."
The Star-Telegram say they've received reports that cancelling of weapons searches has happened on previous candidate appearances, many of them Obama's. If these reports are true, well... I'll bet my bottom dollar that the Secret Service never cancels anything of the sort when President Bush is making an appearance. From what I've read in the news, security on the President is obsessively tight. You can't even wear an anti-Bush t-shirt into a Bush rally without risking arrest.
Public outrage? You bet. The more, the better. The Dallas cops who questioned the Secret Service's good judgment are right on the money, as the story hits the major network media. Congress should investigate immediately, and quite a few heads should roll. We all know there has been an undertone during this campaign, with some Americans feeling queasy and talking quietly about candidate safety with so much riding on the outcome of this election.
Oh, and what about security for Hillary Clinton? Has it been called off at any time as well? There are bigots out there who wouldn't like to see a woman in the Oval Office either.