For all the talk of inaugural security -- for all the money spent, the roads closed, the surface-to-air missiles ready to launch -- the lockdown around the Capitol isn't exactly airtight, at least from where we're sitting, which happens to be the front row.
We walked onto the Capitol grounds this morning carrying a color-coded orange pass that provides access to a seating area about 30 feet from where Dick Cheney and George Bush will take their oaths of office. Along the way, we saw law enforcement and military officers of every stripe, and we saw lots and lots of people standing in line to pass through metal detectors. We saw all that, but we weren't subjected to any of it. Through what we assume was an inadvertent breakdown of the multimillion-dollar security system, we were led to our front-row seat unsearched, unchecked and unmolested by any security force whatsoever. Maybe we just look trustworthy.
Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.