Wash. state Bloomsday Marathon sees DHS, Border Patrol helicopter surveillance
May 6, 2013
The 37th annual Lilac Bloomsday Run in Spokane, Wash. ended this Sunday without a hitch as over fifty thousand attendees from around the world crossed the finish line; only this year, runners witnessed a heightened security unseen in the marathon’s history.
During a press conference last month, the Spokane Police, Border Patrol and FBI argued that the Boston Marathon bombing was a major factor in the need for a large security increase, despite that the massive security presence in Boston, including bomb sniffing dogs and multiple goverment agencies, failed to prevent the tragedy, even with both the suspected bombers being in contact with federal agents for years, including an FBI interview in 2011. The older brother Tamerlan was also added to a terror watch list by the CIA the same year.
Although few attendees have ever had issue with police, who have regularly provided security for Bloomsday, questions arise over the federal presence, more specifically the constitutionality of Border Patrol agents, nearly a hundred miles from the border, surveilling citizens.
“We will be flying two aircraft this year. We’ll be flying the county’s Air One and from border protection, we’ll be flying one of their helicopters,” said Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub.
“When you get down here you’re going to see a lot of uniformed police officers. You’re going to notice the helicopters in the air. We want you to notice them.”
Straub also stated that there was no current information indicating a threat against the event but reminded people that if they “see something, say something.”
When asked, FBI Senior Resident Agent Frank Harrill declined to answer on whether or not FBI agents would be in the crowd during the marathon.
In addition to the Spokane SWAT team, DHS agents were seen before, during and after the race, leading bomb-detection K9 units though the area. Backpacks were also banned from the event with the exception of fanny packs that were subject to inspection. Access to the starting area was restricted to the general public for the first time as well.
78-year-old Bill Iffrig of Lake Stevens, who became world known after being pictured falling at the Boston Marathon finish line as the first explosive detonated, was in attendance and hardly seemed worried.
“I don’t think it’s going to happen that much again,” said Iffrig. “I’m not going to let it stop me for one thing,”
New outlets such as USA Today are now calling for massive security increases at all major sporting events to protect from terrorism while simultaneously reporting on the fact that the US government continues to fund and arm the “Syrian rebels,” who are completely infested with Al Qaeda insurgents, who have even admitted to killing US troops in other countries.
While it appears that many Americans don’t seem to mind the ever-increasing surveillance state presence, more and more are questioning the actual threat of terrorism at home given the FBI’s admission of stopping 17 terrorist plots that they originally created, while accidental electrocution, brain-eating parasites and driving a vehicle are statistically more deadly to Americans than terrorism.
Mikael Thalen’s article first appeared at Examiner.com