Reagan Memorial Terrorism?

Michele Catalano worries that Friday’s Ronald Reagan memorial would be an ideal terrorist target, “All those people gathered in one place, on the 11th of the month. . . .”

Presumably, so is the Secret Service, since they’ve taken charge of event security:

The Department of Homeland Security has designated all the activities in California and Washington related to Reagan’s memorial a special security event, which makes the Secret Service the lead agency for overseeing precautions.

“We are confident we can provide a safe and secure environment,” a Secret Service spokeswoman said.

Among the other events with the same designation are the G-8 economic summit this week on Sea Island, Georgia, and the upcoming political conventions.

Officials suggested several of the measures planned for those events — including sharpshooters, bomb-sniffing dogs and undercover police roaming the crowds — will be employed at the funeral events.

One cause for concern is that this is the first state funeral in Washington in more than 30 years, with a number of world leaders attending.

Another is the warning from the Justice Department and FBI that al Qaeda would like to attack the United States in the next few months. (Full story)

Among the activities that will have to be secured are the funeral procession Wednesday from Andrews Air Force Base to the Capitol, the transport of the casket Friday to the National Cathedral and the service there.

There is expected to be tight security when thousands of people enter the Capitol Rotunda Wednesday night and Thursday to view the former president’s casket lying in state.

In California, the state highway patrol and local police are assisting the security effort.

The Secret Service helped oversee the unprecedented security at last month’s dedication of the World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, but it was not designated a special security event.

Clearly, a major strike at this event would be a terrific coup for al Qaeda. Their modus operandi, however, has been to attack weak spots where the guard is down.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. joy says:

    Yeah, but… The Reagan funeral is so last minute in terms of planning, that I would think the bad guys (for the most part) would need more time to adjust to the schedule.

  2. Attila Girl says:

    My thought exactly: they haven’t had time to get explosives/personnel into place, I don’t think.

  3. Chris says:

    Unless they already have an operative in the country – just waiting for an opportunity.

    I think its very unlikely – but I can’t dismiss the possibility.

  4. Jeremiah says:

    Unless, of course, BushHitler actually had Reagan assassinated and warned Al Quaeda to strike the funeral so that would strike more fear into the heart of ‘merkins everywhere and thus they’d be willing to give up more of their Constitutional rights, which is what BushHitler wants…

    I bet Halliburton was involved in Reagan’s demise too. Bastards.

  5. bryan says:

    Any sort of terrorism at the Reagan funeral would have to be pretty small scale. Like others have mentioned, this is just really short notice for the terror network to get going, and the security is going to be really heavy anyway.

    And besides, terrorism that strikes America right now would have a very catalyzing effect on the country, not one that al Qaeda would like, either.

    No, this is not their weekend.

  6. Attila Girl says:

    If they were good at that kind of strategic thinking, they wouldn’t be terrorists. I mean, if only they hadn’t perpetrated 9/11, their networks, funding, and training camps would be largely intact.

  7. nas says:

    precious are the hearts that labor in unison.

  8. nasr says: