Obama faces 30 death threats a day: Book


Barack Obama

Since Obama was inaugurated on January 20, several individuals and groups have made threats against the life of the President. The rate of threats against Obama has surged by 400 per cent from the 3,000 a year or so under former President George W. Bush, according to Ronald Kessler, author of 'In the President's Secret Service'.

Most of the threats to Obama, whose Secret Service codename is Renegade, are kept under wraps amid fears that revealing such details would only lead to more copycat attempts, the Daily Telegraph said in a report based on the book.
According to the report, a white supremacists in Tennessee planed to assassinate the first black president late last year. After Obama secured the presidential nomination, "assassinate Obama" became a popular search term online.

Security was tight throughout Washington on Obama's inauguration day amid fear that white supremacists or terrorists would try to disrupt the event.
According to the book, intelligence officials received information that people associated with the Somalia-based Islamist group al-Shabaab might try to disrupt Obama's inauguration as the Secret Service co-ordinated at least 40,000 agents and officers from some 94 police, military and security agencies.

Despite all this, there were glaring loopholes in the security. Kessler describes how more than 100 VIPs and major campaign donors were allowed to walk along a public pavement before boarding "secure" buses without being screened by metal detectors.

Although most threats are not credible, each one has to be investigated meticulously. However, the over-stretched and under-resourced Secret Service has increasingly cut corners after it was absorbed by the new Homeland Security Department under Bush, the report said.
Instead of recruiting more agents, they are being asked to work longer hours to cover the extra load which has meant that they have missed on valuable firearms training, physical fitness sessions and tests.

"We have half the number of agents we need, but requests for more agents have fallen on deaf ears at headquarters," a Secret Service agent was quoted as saying by the British daily. "Headquarters' mentality has always been, 'You can complete the mission with what you have. You're a U.S.S.S. agent'" the agent said.

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