Tight Inaugural Security Planned

president-elect george w. bush inauguration inaugural
AP
Security for President Bush's inauguration — the first swearing-in since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks — will be unprecedented with some 6,000 law enforcement personnel, canine bomb teams and close monitoring of transportation.

In describing the plans for the Jan. 20 event, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said that while the decibel level was down on terrorism chatter, the 55th quadrennial presidential inauguration was such a high-profile event that security would be at its highest level.

"This is the most visible manifestation of our democracy," Ridge said at a news conference near the Capitol, where Mr. Bush will take the oath on the West Front.

Ridge detailed some of the security plans, including patrols of harbors, mobile command vehicles, round-the-clock surveillance of the key facilities and thousands of security personnel. He likened the resources to those used during the political conventions last year.

"Security will be at the highest levels of any inauguration," said Ridge, describing it as unprecedented.

The Federal Aviation Administration has announced that it will expand the no-fly zone, now a 15-3/4-mile radius around the Washington Monument, to a 23-mile radius around Reagan National, Dulles and Baltimore-Washington International airports.

The temporary flight restrictions will be in effect from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Jan. 20.

Officials expect up to 250,000 people to attend the inauguration.

Meanwhile, District of Columbia officials are asking inaugural planners who is going to pay the city's estimated bill of $17.3 million for events surrounding the Jan. 20 ceremony?

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams, in a letter to federal officials, outlined the anticipated costs for the city. Police overtime from Jan. 18-21 was put at nearly $5.3 million, producing special license tags would cost $43,260 and construction of reviewing stands was estimated at nearly $3 million.

Williams cited these costs in a letter to Ridge and Office of Management and Budget Director Joshua B. Bolten.

Sharon Gang, a spokeswoman for the mayor, said the city has been told that a supplemental appropriation for inaugural funds would not be made.

Williams suggested dipping into the Emergency Planning and Security Cost Fund, which has been used for events such as former President Reagan's funeral, July 4 festivities and protests against the World Bank. Guidelines for that fund, however, limit its use to planning and security expenses.

"It's not our event. It's a 100 percent federal event," said Eleanor Holmes Norton, the city's congressional representative. Norton said the city should not have to dip into the emergency-planning fund, much less homeland security dollars, for a presidential inaugural.