Secret Service may soon be searching bags at checkpoints blocks away from White House

Secret Service outside the White House. (Source: Jewel Samad, AFP)
Secret Service outside the White House.  (Source: Jewel Samad, AFP)
Secret Service outside the White House. (Source: Jewel Samad, AFP)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Secret Service is considering implementing pedestrian checkpoints and bag searches on sidewalks of the district outside the White House.

These warrantless “screenings” could take place several blocks away from the White House grounds, law enforcement officials told the New York Times.

The Times reported:

As part of the screening, the Secret Service would establish several checkpoints a few blocks from the White House, the officials said. The screening would likely be limited to bag checks and not include measures taken at airports by the Transportation Security Administration, which include metal detectors and body scans.

Along with giving Secret Service agents and uniformed Secret Service officers a chance to check for explosives and weapons in bags, the screening would allow them to interact with the visitors and try to identify those who may pose a problem, the officials said.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a continuing investigation or security measures under consideration.

The clamoring for more security predictably comes after a man hopped the fence of the White House on Friday and was arrested. Despite the fact that the Secret Service easily detained the intruder, authorities understand that the best time to expand police power is while an security breach is fresh in the minds of the public.

“You never let a serious crisis go to waste,” President Barack Obama’s former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel famously said in 2008. “And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

Should this consideration be implemented, it would mean the normalization of checkpoints in the streets, potentially anywhere the president travels. What are Americans to believe about their individual rights, when the government so frequently demonstrates that security — especially the security of the elites — is the highest national priority?

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