Inauguration Day: Officials Plan Comprehensive Security Against Terror Threats, ‘Crazy Factor’


The FBI, U.S. Secret Service, and their law enforcement partners are planning a comprehensive security plan in response to the terrorism and criminal threats facing the nation’s capital on Inauguration Day for President-elect Donald Trump, WTOP has learned.

In November, CBS News reported that the FBI had been sounding the alarm across the country about a potential terrorist attack on Inauguration Day.

A week after the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) reportedly released a propaganda video urging its followers to assassinate President-elect Trump, U.S.-based sympathizers of the jihadist group reportedly identified Inauguration Day as an opportunity for a terrorist attack.

“Hostile nation-states, threats on social media, and angry protesters” are some of the potential problems authorities are gearing up for, points out WTOP.

The U.S. Secret Service, which is in charge of event security, is expected to work in coordination with the FBI, the Army National Guard, local police, and other law enforcement partners to ensure peace and maintain order at the inauguration.

In an article citing U.S. special agents, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and the U.S. National Park Police, the Express reports that during the event, “items which will be banned include aerosols, ammunition, backpacks, bicycles, balloons, drones and other unmanned aircraft systems, explosives, firearms, laser pointers, mace and pepper spray, packages, selfie sticks, toy guns and weapons of any kind.”

The nation’s capital is expected to host more than a million people for events before and after Trump’s inauguration.

“Throughout the year, the FBI works collaboratively to prepare to support these events with any specialty equipment or personnel that may augment the resources of our partner agencies, be they state local or federal,” Dave Sundberg, special agent in charge of the FBI Washington Field Office, told WTOP.

Acknowledging that terror attacks have skyrocketed across the world in the four years since the second inauguration of President Barack Obama — with Orlando, Florida, suffering the largest Islamic extremist terror attack since September 11, 2001 — Fred Burton, a retired diplomatic security agent, added, “I would be concerned about ISIS-inspired, lone-wolf attacks like we’ve seen in Orlando, and in all probability in Fort Lauderdale, as that investigation shakes out.”

Burton, who currently serves as vice president of intelligence at the private security firm Stratfor, noted that “the crazy factor,” referring to “those individuals that are out there and you’ve not been able to investigate or identify,” pose the most significant threat.

However, Brian Ebert, special agent in charge of the Secret Service Washington Field Office, told WTOP the agency is planning to employ a 360-degree “protective methodology” plan on Inauguration Day.

“We’re paying attention to the physical, the cyber, the aerial,” he revealed, adding that the Secret Service will use a “robust security perimeter to defend against a number of threats. This will be a multilayered, buffer zone surrounding protected venues as well motorcade routes and of course the parade route.”

National Guardsmen and police officers will also be part of the perimeter, noted Ebert.

Since after the second inauguration of President Bill Clinton in 1997, inaugurations have been designated a “national security event,” which means it is a potential target for terrorism and/or other criminal activity.

WTOP explains:

Under the special security event planning, the FBI handles intelligence, counterterrorism, hostage rescue and investigation of incidents of terrorism or other major criminal activities.

And the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] is responsible for recovery management in the aftermath of terrorist or other major criminal incidents, natural disasters or other catastrophic events.

Those and many other law enforcement partners are working to lock down the nation’s capital during what may be the most dynamic threat environment in history.

On Monday morning, the FBI Washington Field Office hosted a presentation for the media to demonstrate to individuals and organizations seeking to attack the 2017 inauguration on January 20 that they are ready for them.


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