Presidential podiums pilfered?

posted at 8:45 am on October 18, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Oh, come on. I don’t see what the big deal is in this NBC story from Henrico, VA. Isn’t this just a demonstration of open-source redistributionism?

NBC12 has uncovered one of those stories that makes you think: “How in the world does that happen?!” A truck filled with President Obama’s podiums and audio equipment was stolen in Henrico just days before his visit to Chesterfield.

We confirmed an investigation with the U.S. Defense Department. There are still a lot of questions. The biggest one being did the thieves intentionally target the President’s truck or did they take advantage of a crime of opportunity and give a big “uh-oh” when they saw what was inside.

When you see President Obama speak, there is a pretty typical setup including the presidential seal on a podium, the see-thru Teleprompter and a portable sound system.

Thieves saw the truck carrying that equipment and couldn’t resist the target.

POTUS without a TOTUS? Heaven forbid!

Fortunately for the President, the truck was recovered, but I imagine there will be a few sheepish faces around the presidential detail today. I’d also assume that whoever stole the truck — almost certainly without knowing what it contained or who owned it — have fled the area at something approaching warp speed.

Update: On a more serious note, commenter NeoKong points out just how bad this security breach could have been:

The story is funny and everything until you realize what a breach of security this really was.

Once somebody gained unsupervised access to that bus and it’s contents they could have done anything they want. What if somebody planted a device or some sort of miniaturized explosive….? What if somebody planted electronic tracking devices or audio or video devices….? They would know where the POTUS would be going days in advance. Can anyone imagine the sort of conversations they could listen in on if somebody planted as bug or the details of security they could see if there was surveillance equipment…?

This is a BFD. Getting to that podium is almost as good as getting up close to the POTUS.

Which is why I suspect that there are some very sheepish faces around the White House this morning, and why the security plan for the equipment has probably been updated — and perhaps the team as well.

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