He has already been the target of two assassination plots and hundreds of threats from white supremacists. So it was no surprise that Barack Obama’s victory speech was delivered from behind two-inch thick bullet proof glass.Although he will not move into the White House until January security has already been stepped up around the President-elect.
The clear protective screens he was sandwiched between at Grant Park in Chicago were the fist visible sign of the fears he will be the target of an assassination attempt. The bulletproof glass was not visible to the millions of people worldwide watching his speech on TV. Also unseen were the dozens of Secret Service agents who had taken up position in the crowd and the high rise buildings overlooking the park.
Hours before Obama stepped on stage Secret Service agents had posed as the Democratic presidential candidate to ‘test’ his exposure to an assassin’s bullet. A red laser dot was ‘fired’ on to the chest of the agents from others posing as sniper’s in the skyscrapers overlooking the park.
After the test was carried out it was decided to install the 10 feet high and 15 feet long screens. A marquee housing the TV cameras meant he was not at risk from the front of the park. A no-fly zone was also imposed over the area, with only police helicopters allowed in the air.
The elaborate security measures, as well as the suffocating presence of dozens of agents, is something Obama, his wife and two young children will now have to learn to live with.