A colleague ripped out a page of the Washingtonian and left it in my mailbox. The item he flagged was from “Capital Comment,” the magazine’s equivalent of the New York Post’s Page Six, except without sex or pretty people. It reads as follows:
Spotted: …. The man who was almost House majority leader, Roy Blunt, shopping with his wife at the “social” Safeway in Georgetown amid a phalanx of security officers. One reporter observed, “If he only wants a basket of groceries, wouldn’t it make sense to send one agent in to get it rather than securing the whole store?
Maybe Roy Blunt knows something I don’t, and if he’s received a specific, credible threat, I apologize, but… is he really a high-value target? Or is this just an ostentatious demonstration of his supposed importance? As a longtime Washington hand observed in 1992:
One thing that is harmful and destructive to the way our system works is the system of security…. It has grown enormously since I went to Washington in the fifties. It happens incrementally. …. There is something about the total number of people in your entourage that defines your importance. That is wrong. It is unhelpful to everyone. It inhibits communication.
That was once and future SecDef Donald Rumsfeld. No sign that he did anything to fight this tendency during his second tour of duty.
Melanie Scarborough wrote a nice briefing paper for Cato on the post-9/11 paramilitarization of DC.