Now go outside and look at the sky.
Don't Upset The Man
As it turns out, while the White House and the Capitol were evacuated, President Bush was mountain biking... and nobody told him that there was a Red Alert over a potential terrorist attack in Washington DC.
Now my first thought was that somebody just screwed up and the Secret Service kinda forgot to tell him. But no, this was intentional!
In the White House press briefing linked above, Scott McClellan describes this as standard procedure in the event of a possible terrorist attack: If the President is out biking don't tell him until we know for sure it's bad.
Here's the quote:
MR. McCLELLAN: John, the protocols that we put in place after September 11th were being followed. They did not require presidential authority for this situation. I think you have to look at each situation and the circumstances surrounding the situation. And that's what officials here at the White House were doing. That's what officials were doing that were with the President at the off-site location, and this was a matter of minutes when all this was happening, when the alert level was going from yellow to orange to red, and then it went back down to yellow when the plane turned away.
So a plane is heading for the White House. The president's wife is being evacuated. Senate employees forget everything they must have heard about evacuation procedures and run wild in the streets around the capitol. The terrorist alert level is elevated to red. And the protocols state that the President does not have to be notified immediately?
What the fuck???
Every primary school has better emergency plans than the US government. The Homeland Security budget for 2004 alone was 36.2 billion dollars, and we still do not even have procedures in place that inform the Commander in Chief of a Red Alert condition?
It explains a lot to me why President Bush always seems so carefree and happy. Has anybody told him that we are still fighting in Iraq?