December 14, 2013

Given the shocking lack of security at the Mandela memorial, why did the Secret Service allow the President to appear?

"The stadium's main entrance was 'completely unattended... There were no workers performing bag checks or pat-downs — there were no magnetometers to walk through, no metal detector wands being used — anywhere.'"
When South African security officials did perform security checks, they were often trying to restrain the bodyguards and entourage members of visiting dignitaries and celebrities. But conflicts seem to have been resolved by letting everybody in...

42 comments:

Pat Patterson said...

Secret Service booty call?

Diogenes of Sinope said...

I would think attending with the known lack of security was Obama's decision.

Carl said...

Tsk. Don't these people know South Africa is now run by blacks? It's racist to suggest incompetence in any enterprise headed by black people.

Hopefully they'll find out that the Minister for State Security is a white male -- a white female would not do, of course, for the obvious reason that you cannot replace racism with sexism -- and then they can go into full hound mode and call for his head. Even better, with a white man they'll be able to suggest he wanted the black President to be exposed to greater danger.

Really, the way some people just don't get the necessity of keeping the narrative straight is shameful. We should build special education facilities to which they can be sent when this happens.

mccullough said...

His wife was the only one there who wanted to hurt him.

Original Mike said...

Jesus, even the Secret Service is deteriorating under this Administration. Well the hell is going on?

Original Mike said...

well = what

YoungHegelian said...

Why is it, in example after example that illustrate how both the civil service & elected arms of the federal government seem incapable of functioning under this administration, is anyone surprised by this?

Bob Boyd said...

The place was full of terrorists waiting for Jantjie to give the sign.

EDH said...

Why would the USA's rivals and enemies want to harm Obama?

Mary said...

Rahm Emmanuel is in charge of Chicago's security. He's Jewish. People are dying there, for real.


Why are you concentrating on what did not happen to President Obama? The black people kept our guy safe.

Why can't the Jewish guy here at home keep the blacks here safe?

*You really sure you want to filter everything by race, annie? Doesn't it make you feel bit dirty, promoting the race card for your own ends?

Mary said...

Rahm Emmanuel is in charge of Chicago's security. He's Jewish. People are dying there, for real.


Why are you concentrating on what did not happen to President Obama? The black people kept our guy safe.

Why can't the Jewish guy here at home keep the blacks here safe?

*You really sure you want to filter everything by race, annie? Doesn't it make you feel bit dirty, promoting the race card for your own ends?

PB Reader said...

Just like TSA. Much of the Secret Security protection is unneeded. Unfortunately, it just keeps growing.

Mary said...

A worrywort is someone who worries even after the event is over and their fears have proven false.

Some people put security over freedom and still fret that we should have paid more to take more precautions for y2k.

whatever. Fearful people should stay home with their doors locked and their guns loaded. Like Mrs. Lanza, who surely slept well until she didn't. Her killer was white, remember.

MayBee said...

Maybe this demonstrates how ridiculously over-secured the US president has become.

n.n said...

South Africa is a progressive state, which, in principle, if not actually in practice, implies that discrimination cannot be justified. Perhaps the Secret Service was bound by convention. The illegal aliens in Africa are not questioned. They dealt with simply.

Beorn said...

And when the next big terror strike happens, it will somehow be Bush's fault.

damikesc said...

And, as I said earlier, it's the government so nobody is responsible.

Nothing is better for society than a negligent organization with no liability for their idiocy.

William said...

If the Secret Service has been too officious in carrying out their duties, it would have been seen as condescending to the South Africans. If an attack had been carried out, it would have been interpreted to mean that the Secret Service were lackadaisical when it came to protecting the safety of a black President. I refer you to the assassination of Malcolm X for an example of how this would have played out.

traditionalguy said...

Does Obama imagine that he is so Lincoln like that he wants to go to Fords Theaters on his victory lap?

The last thing we need is for Obama to be martyred.

rhhardin said...

I'm not shocked.

Paul said...

Why not let Obama in. All he wanted to do is get a selfie photo.

Note at the 'other' funeral, the marking of the school massacre at Newtown, I guess the Secret Service took his blackberry away from him.

David said...

Diogenes of Sinope said...
I would think attending with the known lack of security was Obama's decision.

We will never know for sure, but this seems like a good explanation.

Or . . . .

His staff was told, but his staff and senior advisors are so gutless and incompetent that they could not get the point across to him.

David said...

You know, all you had to do was look at the photos of Obama entering the event to see that there was a lot of risk. The Secret Service had to see the problem. Contrary to the lame jokes in many of the comments, this is a very serious matter. Just what is going on here?

rhhardin said...

Obama could walk around unprotected a lot more with no problem.

Just don't make enough of a habit of it that it can be planned on.

pm317 said...

Maybe this demonstrates how ridiculously over-secured the US president has become.

Exactly, and especially in the age of Obama.

FullMoon said...


Blogger Bob Boyd said...

The place was full of terrorists waiting for Jantjie to give the sign.


Bob Boyd, you're a funny guy.

pm317 said...

Bob Boyd, thread winner!

AJ Lynch said...

Maybe the Secret Service knows that even Al Quaeda terrorists have no interest in going to South Africa?

The Drill SGT said...

Beyond the issues already mentioned, the SS functions well because of its unsurpassed reputation for competence. Just like the FBI has put Kidnapping for profit on the endangered crime list. Since Kennedy, the SS has seemed invincible. Because of that, life has been good for them. This series of missteps makes it clear that their rep is overbilled. Because of that, they will get tested sooner rather than later...

AReasonableMan said...

"Given the shocking lack of security at the Mandela memorial, why did the Secret Service allow the President to appear?"

Why not go with the obvious answer - a lot fewer crazy people in SA than here. Things seem to have gone swimmingly by all accounts. I hear there were even some 'selfies' taken.

Kirk Parker said...

pm317,

Bobbie Boyd has been on a roll, winning a lot of those things lately. Although I think in this particular thread mccullough is a serious contender too.

Now, to take a serious turn: EDH, I see where you're coming from, and that's a rational point of view, but only coming from a rationalist Western perspective. There are plenty of people around the world who do not share that perspective, for whom the freedom vs statist struggle is just some boring internicene struggle and who would be perfectly happy to whack, e.g., the titular representative of The Great Satan. I'd really really really REALLY hate for them to get that kind of PR victory...

KLDAVIS said...

Perhaps the surveillance state has progressed to the point where seemingly (to us) dangerous situations are in fact known to be perfectly innocuous.

KLDAVIS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kirk Parker said...

Oh, also on the *seriously* front, I'm with pm317 on considering the current security regimen surrounding the president to be excessive.

I'd far rather our president was slipping out for late-night Big Macs (one of the few things I truly appreciated about WJBC, hope he really did that a time or two), or taking an unescorted road trip like the Trumans did shortly after Harry left office.

Yes, yes, I understand the risks involved, and the great attractor the Most Powerful (Wo)Man In The World is, and how it would be a huge deal for whoever managed to assassinate the president.

But how about, in light of that, we push these memes to the forefront:

1. We Are Not Afraid Of You.

2. In a nation of 300 million, there are somewhere between 3 and 15 *million* people who can replace the one you just offed, and the one who gets the nod is not only Extremely Pissed Off that you whacked a Very Important American, but has an extra helping of pissed-of-ness at having whatever self-directed important thing they were doing interrupted by being called to go be president for a while.

Kirk Parker said...

And by way, I I don't mean to sound like oderint dum metuant, but rather something adequately Jacksonian, perhaps the 1st Marine Division's motto no better friend, no worse enemy. Indeed, one of the things that perpetually pisses off the otherwise-congenitally-optimistic me is the way we (as individuals in the aggregate) are so ignorant of history and foreign affairs that we (as a society and nation) can't manage to be consistent friends to those to whom we should be.

Michael said...

Kirk. I am with you on this. A year or so ago Cameron came to the US on a first class British Air seat. A president who would do such a thing would be greatly admired. And cheered.

Kirk Parker said...

I'm also remembering the account of Teddy Roosevelt going "It's just a flesh wound!" and continuing his campaign speech.

tim maguire said...

And yet the worst thing that happened is a bad signer got on stage.

There's a lesson in there somewhere.

Kirk Parker said...

Oops, and:

3. The last time we were this pissed of, Liquid Sunshine™ was involved.

Kirk Parker said...

"A year or so ago Cameron came to the US on a first class British Air seat."

Yes, yes!

I remember the minor flap over Cheri Blair turnstile-jumping on the Tube (or something like that, I can't be bothered to google the fine details) and everyone is all bothered about that, and I'm going "WTF is wrong with us??? Here's the wife of the Nth* most powerful man in the world, and she's taking the subway to work? WTF is wrong with populist, democratic us that this story is not being written about us instead??????"

pm317 said...

For Kirk Parker: As I near the home of Uruguay's first couple, the only security detail is two guards parked on the approach road, and Mujica's three-legged dog, Manuela.

Joe said...

Most security is theater, this is but one more example.