View Full Version : Bomb-proof tunnel with air conditioning: Obama's security go to extraordinary measure

11-06-2010, 06:03 PM

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle arrived in India's commercial hub of Mumbai on Saturday, days after voters punished his Democrats in mid-term elections.

Probably not since the days of the Pharaohs or the more ludicrous Roman Emperors has a head of state travelled in such pomp and expensive grandeur as the President of the United States of America.

While lesser mortals – the Pope, Queen Elizabeth and so on – are usually happy to let their hosts handle most of the security and transport arrangements when they venture beyond their home shores, the United States creates a mini-America on the move to ensure that nothing is left to chance.

Obama arrives in India at the start of a ten-day tour of Asia. At the heart of the White House caravan is ‘The Beast’, a gigantic, ‘pimped-up’ General Motors Cadillac which security experts say is, short of an actual battle tank, probably the safest road vehicle on the planet.

But an outlandish car is only the start. Mr Obama will fly, of course, on Air Force One, the presidential private jumbo jet, which, boasting double beds and suites, is fitted out more like a luxury yacht. Some reports suggest it costs around $50,000 (£31,000) an hour to operate.

Of course threats can come from any direction, so a squadron of U.S. naval ships will patrol offshore. Some reports have claimed that 34 ships, including two aircraft carriers, will be involved (not far off the size of the Royal Navy’s entire Surface Fleet) but the White House has denied this.

What arrogance.

11-06-2010, 07:55 PM
Glenn Beck the other day said that he's hoping that nothing happens to Obama over there. I don't begrudge the security expense. Can you imagine the chaos if he would be assasinated over there? No matter what one thinks about him, he's still our president and the office should be respected.

But I wonder if those reports of 3,000 people accompanying him are true? If the reports are true, it's a national disgrace. In this economy the president does not need to waste that much. I'm sure that he could get by with a leaner staff.

11-06-2010, 08:08 PM


11-06-2010, 08:10 PM
We should require him to show his papers at the border before we let him back in!

11-07-2010, 03:26 PM
We should require him to show his papers at the border before we let him back in!

C'mon, the Kenyan passport is perfectly valid. :D

11-07-2010, 04:13 PM
What arrogance.

I don't think so. Use of AF1 and the modded Caddies are standard for all recent US presidents and VPs.

I saw the motorcade and security when Laura Bush visited Yad Vashem in 2006. As I recall, there were two SUVs and three caddies. I got talking to one of the USSS tech agents (the tech agents are much more accessible that you'd think, at least until the VIP finishes the engagement and needs convoy protection).

Someone else in our party saw one of the other agents working one of the SUVs with a polishing cloth. She asked the USSS guy who was talking with us, "why, why would he do that? He said, and I paraphrase a little, "it's because of who they are, and because who we are responsible to to keep safe.

This guy's normal detail was VP protection (then Cheney) but the teams double up (or did then) for POTUS/VP spouse-alone travel. One of us asked him what Cheney was like from his perspective. He said the Cheney's were very easy to work with and very appreciative of their work. I asked him what the lot before Cheney had been like. He found a good way not to answer that question.

Here's the thing: That was Israel. Intense security issues, but very good local capability on hand to deal with them. There were as many if not probably more heavily armed Israeli SF on hand than there were USSS. They were certainly more restrictive to the people in our group (a couple of lads from NY attending yeshiva in Jerusalem and some ex-USAF dads with wives and families in tow).

We're talking India here. I've only ever seen proper automatic weapons in the hands of Indian BSF troops on the Indo/Pak border (AK47s, I think).

The few armed police in India are more likely to have a bolt-action Lee Enfield or something that looks a lot like a WW2 sten gun that will probably jam, on the off-chance that it's even loaded correctly. And because of the "diversity" one cannot take it for granted where their loyalties really lie. Ghandi was assassinated by one of his own bodyguards.

This is the US President we're talking about. It might be Barack H Obama, but he still requires and deserves proper protection, and in this case more, because it's India and he's the first black US president.