By Jim Kouri
“ISIS is angry over the results of the American election that brought to power a President who they believe will give no quarter in the war on Islamic terrorists. They are also angry that in the waning months of his administration, President [Barack Obama] is taking credit for what others are doing in Mosul (Iraq) and Aleppo (Syria). He has also allowed U.S. military presence in Afghanistan to fester,” said former counter-terrorism operative Milton Sedgewick, now working as a security contractor.
Security services in European countries are also facing a new paradigm: an upswing in the number of female jihadists who are recruited by ISIS to engage in terrorists acts, according to Homeland Security News Wire.
Security surrounding the inauguration of Donald Trump is proving to be the most challenging in recent history, according to senior officials involved in its planning, largely because of the same forces of political rancor that shaped the race for the presidency.
The dozens of government and contracted agencies responsible for security at the Jan. 20 festivities are preparing for the possibility of large numbers of protesters pouring into the capital, along with what may be nearly 1 million supporters of Trump. For example, there is talk of one group of anti-Trump “potheads” who are claiming they will handout thousands of marijuana “joints” for protesters to smoke while protesting the inauguration.
In 2009, Obama’s inauguration was the first transfer of power in the post-9/11 era — and the first in which an African-American was taking the oath of office. Obama faced a rash of racist threats, as well as concerns about a terrorist plot that ultimately proved unfounded but sent the president-elect and top aides scrambling on the eve of his swearing-in.
Even so, Obama did not face the kind of large-scale protests expected to greet Trump when he officially arrives in Washington. The 2009 crowd of nearly 2 million people, a record, included few, if any, protesters and did not lead to a single arrest, according to Christopher T. Geldart, the director of homeland security for the District of Columbia.
A vast planning board of intelligence analysts, military personnel, and law enforcement officers numbering in the tens of thousands will be working to protect the inauguration and related activities.
In total, more than three dozen different agencies spread out across the capital will be working to prevent the occasion from becoming a platform for individuals or groups looking to do harm. Their work, begun months ago, has taken on a new urgency since Election Day and will soon include the imposition of a security perimeter around the Capitol, the Mall, and large parts of the city.
Soldiers and airmen from the South Dakota National Guard are preparing for joint support of the 58th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Jan. 20, 2017, according to Air Force Master Sgt. Christopher Stewart.
“They will join hundreds of National Guardsmen from across the country to assist with security, crowd control and traffic management throughout the national capital region when President-elect Donald J. Trump takes the oath as the 45th president of the United States,” Sgt. Stewart wrote. “This joint service security group is preparing with refresher training on the safe and secure movement of civilians prior to, during and after inauguration events.”
“The purpose of the training is so that the two branches can blend together and work together as a cohesive team,” said Army Sgt. Kurtis Brown, 235th Military Police Company team leader. “For a joint operation like the Presidential Inauguration we all want to be on the same page.”
Instructors from a local air ambulance service provided medical training on Dec. 3 that was focused on medical issues civilians might develop at the inauguration.
“The practice was needed and beneficial to all of us, said Air Force Lt. Kristopher King,” 114th Security Forces chief of information protection. “It’s a great opportunity to make sure everyone is speaking the same language and using the same techniques.”
The costs of security alone are expected to exceed $100 million.