WASHINGTON -- The Jan. 20 inauguration is an attractive target for international and domestic terrorist groups, U.S. intelligence officials said, but they know of no specific threat that might disrupt the celebration.
An intelligence assessment obtained by The Associated Press said the high visibility of the event, the presence of dignitaries and the significance of swearing in the country's first black president make the inauguration vulnerable to attacks.
Threats against President-elect Barack Obama have increased since he was elected. This and other considerations such as the large crowds expected factored into security plans that will close bridges and 3.5 miles of downtown Washington on Jan. 20. The security perimeter covers more of the city than previous inaugurations.
Secret Service Announces Security Plans for Inaugural
The United States Secret Service in cooperation with its local, state and federal security, public safety and military partners, has developed an overall security plan for the 56th Presidential Inauguration. Inaugural activities will take place beginning on Saturday, January 17 through Wednesday, January 21, with the swearing-in ceremony scheduled for Tuesday, January 20.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has designated the Inaugural as a National Special Security Event (NSSE). When an event is designated an NSSE, the U.S. 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 federal and local agencies, will play a critical operational role in securing the Inauguration and resources will be deployed to maintain the necessary level of security.
The following security measures will be in place for the 56th Presidential Inauguration:
Downtown Area Road Closures: Beginning at 3 p.m. on Monday, January 19, through 7 a.m. on Wednesday, January 21, vehicle restricted zones will be put in place in downtown. All vehicular road closures in Washington, D.C. will be coordinated by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT). Inquiries pertaining to road closures should be directed to DDOT at 202-671-3490. Details will also be available online at www.inauguration.dc.gov and at www.secretservice.gov. A detailed transportation plan will be released listing additional road closures for Inauguration day. Click here to view the road closures map.
Security Screenings: All attendees, including general public and ticketed guests, are subject to a thorough security screening before entering the Inaugural parade route, the White House reviewing stand and the Inaugural balls. Please allow for additional time for this security screening, as it is expected that lines may be long.
Prohibited Items: As a security precaution, the following items will be prohibited from the Inaugural parade route, the White House reviewing stand and the Inaugural balls: firearms, ammunition, explosives, weapons of any kind, aerosols, supports for signs and placards, packages, coolers, thermal or glass containers, backpacks, bags exceeding size restrictions (8"x6"x4"), laser pointers, animals other than helper/guide dogs, structures, bicycles and any other items determined to be a potential safety hazard. With respect to signs and placards, items must be made of cardboard, poster board or cloth and have dimensions no greater than three (3) feet in width, 20 feet in length and one-quarter (1/4) inch in thickness. Surrendered items will not be returned, nor available for pick-up.
Parade Route Entry Points: The following 13 public entry points will open at 7:00 a.m. on January 20, 2009, and will remain open until the parade route can no longer accommodate additional people:
- 2nd Street NW and C Street NW
- 3rd Street NW and C Street NW
- Indiana Avenue NW between 6th St NW and 7th St NW
- 7th Street NW and D Street NW
- 10th Street NW and E Street NW
- 12th Street NW and E Street NW
- E Street NW just east of 13th Street NW
- 13th Street NW just North of E Street NW
- 14th Street NW just North of E Street NW
- 12th Street NW between Constitution Avenue. and Pennsylvania Avenue
- 10th Street NW between Constitution Avenue. and Pennsylvania Avenue
- 7th Street NW between Constitution Avenue. and Pennsylvania Avenue
- Constitution Avenue between 6th Street NW and 7th Street NW
Access to the parade route from south of Pennsylvania Avenue, including the National Mall area, will only be available via 14th Street NW or 12th Street NW at Constitution Avenue.
All parade route security screening entry points will be able to accommodate persons with disabilities. There are additional screening entry points for the ticketed seating at the U.S. Capitol and the White House viewing areas. Details for the swearing-in at the Capitol are available at www.inaugural.senate.gov.
Individuals attending the Inaugural parade may enter at any of the designated entry points on the north or south side of Pennsylvania Avenue. Between 7 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., the following intersections will be open to the general public as crossover points:
- 3rd Street between Constitution Ave and Pennsylvania Avenue
- Pennsylvania Ave between 6th Street NW and 7th Street NW
- Pennsylvania Ave between 11th Street NW and 12th Street NW
Air Security: A combined air security plan will be implemented to provide airspace security for the Washington metropolitan area. Enhanced airspace restrictions on general aviation have been released and can be accessed online at the Federal Aviation Administration web page at www.faa.gov. Pilot inquiries should be directed to 866-598-9522.