Those imposing presidential motorcades that zoomed through American cities carrying President Obama from one fundraiser to another last year were staffed with highly trained Secret Service agents and guarded by local cops and sheriff’s deputies at great expense to local taxpayers.
It looks great on television, but what viewers don’t see is that the drivers behind the wheels of those vans are neophyte, Facebook-posting graduate students enamored with the president’s soft hands.
One of them was Natalie Tyson, a San Francisco-area graduate student profiled in a New York Times story Thursday that makes the imperial street theater of presidential security look like an expensive sham.
The story details how Tyson wasn’t even aware the president was visiting San Francisco on a fundraising trip in October until a friend texted to ask if she wanted to be a driver for the motorcade — transporting reporters covering the visit.
With no training — though she did have a valid driver’s license — Tyson was an acceptable candidate.
And that makes for a dangerous situation, a former Secret Service agent said, according to The Times.
“You are face to face with a young person who is just completely full of themselves and enthralled,” said former agent and author Dan Emmett, who spent years as part of a professional security team traveling with motorcades staffed by volunteers like Tyson.
“We were more concerned with that than an attack on the motorcade.”
Tyson didn’t seem worried about her qualifications to be a driver though.
“Whatever I am is good enough for them,” she told The Times.
That’s good to know, for a motorcade that carries the most powerful man in the world, presumably carries that guy with the nuclear war codes, and definitely carries some very, very highly paid White House personnel and a physician and medical staff to make sure the president arrives intact and alive at his next high-dollar liberal gig.
All that expensive staffing is being accompanied by drivers whose White House social connections make them eligible for volunteer duty that apparently includes reading family therapy textbooks, according to The Times, and taking endless selfies — like this one ….
Tyson takes a selfie while waiting to drive a van full of reporters. (Facebook photo)
and this one ….
This practice isn’t unique to the Obama administration. According to Times, it started in the 1980s.
And it is isn’t a knock on Natalie Tyson. She sounds like a very nice young woman, and it’s not her fault she has a friend in the White House who thought she’d have a good time driving around, looking important and getting to meet the president. (“His hands are very soft,” she told The Times.)
But it does make anyone wonder what exactly is the point of spending literally millions of taxpayer dollars on parade that would make the Caesars blush every time the president — or that buffoon 0f a vice president — travels around the country when there are weak-link volunteers right in the middle of the security chain.
And what’s the potential for disaster?
“If the motorcade ever comes under fire, it’s going to be a problem,” Emmett told The Times.
“There are so many non-law-enforcement vehicles that it’s going to be a goat rope. Everyone will be responding, police officers and the Secret Service, and it will be all these people running around in a panic like the last scene of the ‘Blues Brothers’ movie, when there’s the big police chase that ends in a wreck of 50 police cars.”
Until then, drivers like Tyson have resume padders.
“You know how sometimes you are starting a new job or starting a new course, and you have to come up with three truths and a lie about yourself?” she told The Times.
“This will be my truth that sounds like a lie.”
Wish it were.
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