Security: Too Much Or Not Enough?

Tuesday - 1/13/2009, 4:00am EST

Although the national capital region voted big time for Sen. Barack Obama, many of the folks in and around D.C., from Senators to saloon-keepers, are unhappy about the security crackdown for his Inauguration as our 44th President. Specifically they are mad at the Secret Service which is in overall charge.

But guess what? Most of the pols who are blasting the situation - one called it "security on steroids" - will be three or four times as livid if anything really bad happens before, during or after the swearing in on January 20th. Or at one of the many inaugural balls, events, or maybe a bar fight that gets out of hand.

And there is always that possibility.

Critics of too much security would demand to know why there wasn't more, and better, security. Some are already practicing in front of mirrors (or long-suffering spouses) to set the proper tone of righteous indignation.

Obviously we hope nothing mars the inauguration which, for most DC area feds and school children, is a four-day weekend.

But officials are expecting anywhere from two to five million people will pour into town that day. Not all of them will be in a celebratory mood.

If nothing happens, we will will debate, probably for months, the excessive security we here were forced to endure and that you, the taxpayers, were forced to pay for.

If something happens, however, we will surely debate, maybe for years, the lack of security that permitted whatever happened to happen.

No matter how tough or lax security is, commuting on that day will be nightmarish, at best. People can't (and shouldn't anyhow) drive to town that day. We have enough trouble getting to and from work on a balmy, bland Tuesday in June.

So what to do?

Some federal agencies that need people on duty but not necessarily in the office have told people who must work to work from home. To telework. Others have special sites in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania where employees will be on duty.

Some agencies will use it as a real live test of how well (or not) their COOP plans work. Could they continue to function in the event of a major terrorist attack, a Katrina-like natural event or if parts of the country were on extended lock-down because of a flu pandemic?

Because this is likely to be the biggest ever Inaugural, and because of the threat of terrorism, the period around Jan. 20th will be a real test of a lot of things.

There has been a number of good articles recently about Inauguration Day and teleworking. To check them out, click here.

And if you are coming into town for the four-day weekend, we welcome your presence and your money. Have a great time and stay safe. And remember the two rules of Washington and you'll do fine. They are:

  1. Stand to the right on the Metro escalators.

  2. Don't park in my driveway.

Nearly Useless Factoid

According to Time Magazine, the website "Cute Things Falling Asleep might be the most adorable time-waster since Animal Planet began hosting puppy sporting events." And to think, DARPA never even saw this coming when it "invented" the internet.

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com