Secret Service requested cell tower at McCain ranch

The Washington Post accused the McCains of using their influence to get a temporary cell tower installed at their ranch earlier this year, but as it turns out, James Grimaldi didn’t do his homework.  The Secret Service requested the additional coverage earlier this year in order to bolster communications for their security detail on John McCain:

A representative for the Secret Service confirms Verizon’s statement earlier tonight that the company only put in a temporary cell service facility near the McCain ranch in Arizona at the request of the agency.

“We made a request of Verizon in I believe May that was covered under our contract and they did address our immediate needs,” said Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren.

Zahren said the Washington Post story was “confusing two different issues — the temporary fix and the permanent solution to the tower.”

They’re confused, all right.  Grimaldi reports on the two requests as coming from the McCains:

Early in 2007, just as her husband launched his presidential bid, Cindy McCain sought to resolve an old problem — the lack of cellphone coverage on her remote 15-acre ranch near Sedona, Ariz., nestled deep in a tree-lined canyon called Hidden Valley.

Over the past year, she offered land for a permanent cell tower, and Verizon Wireless embarked on an expensive public process to meet her needs, hiring contractors and seeking county land-use permits.

Verizon ultimately abandoned its effort to install a permanent tower in August. Company spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said the project would be “an inappropriate way” to build its network. “It doesn’t make business sense for us to do that,” he added.

Instead, Verizon delivered a portable tower known as a “cell site on wheels” — free of charge — to the McCain property in June, after the Secret Service began inquiring about improving coverage in the area. Such devices are used for providing temporary capacity where coverage is lacking or has been knocked out, in circumstances ranging from the Super Bowl to hurricanes.

This would have been a strange sort of scandal, anyway.  Cindy McCain offered the use of the land for free in exchange for a cell tower.  She initiated the request, not her husband, and did it through the proper channels.  While Verizon certainly must have realized who the McCains are, that doesn’t make Mrs. McCain’s request or offer inappropriate.

And what was the benefit?  Better cell coverage?  Well, there’s a scandal.  That’s so much more important than looking into Barack Obama’s funding of ACORN, the millions of dollars that he took from contributors named Qwerty Fghjkl;’ from ZX, and the cesspool of corruption in Chicago that Obama never bothered to reform but instead endorsed.  I hope the WaPo didn’t have to tear too many people off of the tanning-booth beat in Wasilla to cover this blockbuster.