Unprecedented security for inauguration

January 19, 2009 3:05:05 PM PST
While many people who came to see the inauguration of Barack Obama are having a good time, there's a much more serious operation going on.With the nation's first African-American president taking office, and the ever present threat of terrorism, security at the U.S. Capitol wll be by far the most extensive and stringent ever for a swearing-in.

Security is tighter than a drum. There's no doubt about it when you see soldiers patrolling the streets.

Police are at most street corners, while the F.B.I. is highly visible when it wants to be. They are beginning to shut down vehicle traffic to critical sites like the Capitol, the Mall and Pennsylvania Ave.

"We've got a sub-contractor coming in to remove the traffic signals on Pennsylvania Avenue, and after that we have secret service doing a clean-sweep before we harden it up," said Sgt. James Schaeffer of the Washington, D.C. Police.

Federal authorities will deploy more than 150 teams of plainclothes agents,12,000soldiers, teams of intelligence analysts, bomb experts and SWAT units.

Emergency personnel will be nearby, but out of sight.

Unless they're needed.

Joining them will be 300 police officers from Philadelphia, who have been deputized and will be under federal authority. They will be deployed on Pennsylvania Avenue to secure the parade route.

People who've come from far and wide for this celebration don't mind the inconviences that massive security measure will create.

"I don't think it would be a problem if it tightens up even more. Security is important, and I've got my family here and we're here to witness history and we're not interested in anything going wrong," said Antione Turner of Los Angeles.

"I'd rather be safe than sorry too, but I don't see a big threat quite frankly. I think we're well protected," said Mac Bond of Mill Spring, North Carolina.

Intelligence agencies continue to say they have detected no credible threat to any inaugural event or Barack Obama.