David Cameron is rejecting the advice of top security officials by insisting on walking around Whitehall, refusing police motorcycle escorts and demanding to be allowed to keep his BlackBerry smartphone.Read the rest here.
There is increasing nervousness about the protection of the Prime Minister, who officials believe is making himself vulnerable to terrorists, lone obsessives and cyber-criminals.
Security analysis would suggest that if Mr Cameron is more vulnerable to attack, then the ministers and police officers walking with him, and the members of the public around him, are also at greater risk. Deeper concerns have been expressed that his actions undermine the Government’s message on national security. The MI5 threat assessment is now at “severe”, meaning that an attack is highly likely.
I empathize with Mr. Cameron. Nobody wants to live their life in a bulletproof goldfish bowl, no matter how comfortable the bowl might be. But some things have to be put up with, and in his job security is near the top of that list. The article is correct in noting that when VIP's step outside the security bubble they are not just putting themselves at risk. They put all of those in their vicinity in danger as well. It's not fair but that's the way things are.
When he first took office President Reagan bristled at the constant presence of his Secret Service minders and one evening complained aloud about being "crowded" by them. The senior agent responded matter-of-factly "Mr. President, we are like Hail to the Chief. We come with the job." Several weeks later that agent (Jerry Parr) body slammed President Reagan into his bulletproof car as a madman tried (and nearly succeeded) to kill him outside the Washington Hilton Hotel. Three other people were gravely wounded in that attack.
Memo to anyone seeking high political office: The guys in suits and sunglasses with wires coming out of their ears are not stage props. If you don't want them around, consider another line of work.