Inauguration 2013 - Dos & Don'ts for event attendees

Security is always a concern and there is a list of things you can't bring... like umbrellas even if it is raining or stollers for children. Photo: President Obama and First Lady Michelle - 2009

WASHINGTON, January 16, 2013 — Security will be very tight for the 2013 Swearing-in of President Barack Obama on Monday, January 21. People viewing the Inaugural from the lawn and those standing along the parade route, will be subject to security screening.

The U.S. Secret Service believes it will be able to provide the maximum security without interfering with the excitement of the 800,000 plus expected to throng the Inauguration events.  Even as, over the course of the last four years, President Obama has received more death threats than any other president, coming in at 30 a day, up 400% since 2008.

The FBI has said as of now there is “no credible corroborated threats to any of the [Inaugural] activities.”

However the agency is ready to meet any security challenge:

“We will have our SWAT team, pretty much all of our specialty teams will be available and on standby to include (weapons specialists), our dive team, our intelligence team — working around the clock — our hostage negotiators, (and) our special agent bomb technicians will also be available.”

Before you crowd onto the Mall for the Inaugural, there’s security screening. Photo: AP


The Secret Service has set up a Multi-Agency Communications Center known as the MACC, located just outside of DC. Forty-two agencies will have representatives working out of the headquarters, including the Secret Service, FBI, U.S. Capitol Police, Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department, U.S. Park Police, and the military.

There will also be live video feeds of key locations around the city streaming into MACC. But in addition to the security the agencies will provide, the Secret Service stressed the need for people at the Inauguration events to report any suspicious activity.

As a representative from the FBI explained: “…anyone who can provide information that will give us a lead on something that we should know about is really the most important thing that anyone can do in this regard.” In other words, the people attending the Inauguration will really be the first line of defense.

So what will you be allowed to bring or, more accurately, NOT bring into the Mall area, especially if you have tickets for seats, or will be on the Mall standing under a giant TV screen, or watching along the parade route, whether in the bleachers or on the curb?

Prohibited Items:

Aerosol sprays

Air horns

Alcoholic beverages

Animals (other than service animals)



Duffel bags

Explosives of any kind (including fireworks)

Firearms and ammunition (either real or simulated)

Glass containers

Knives, blades, or sharp objects (of any length)

Large bags

Laser pointers

Mace and/or pepper spray


Pocket or hand tools, such as “Leatherman” tools

Portable chairs (other than those for disabled persons)



Sticks or pole





Other items that may pose a threat to the security of the event as determined by and at the discretion of the security screener.

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2013 Inauguration: How much will it cost you?

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Catherine Poe

Catherine was named one of the top Progressives in Maryland along with Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswoman Donna Edwards. She has been a guest of President Obama in the Rose Garden.

As past president of Long Island NOW, she worked to reform women's prisons in New York, open the construction trades to women, change laws to safeguard battered women, and protect the rights of rape victims. 

Long active in Democratic politics, she served as the presidentof the Talbot Democrats in Maryland for six years and fought to getthe Health Care Reform bill passed.

Catherine has been published in a diverse range of newspapers and magazines, including Newsday, Star Democrat, Rocky Mountain News, Yellowstone News, and the Massachusetts Review.

If Catherine has learned anything over the years it is that progressive change does not come easily, but in baby steps. 

Contact Catherine Poe


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