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Man Bypassed Inauguration Security

January 24, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Just after President Bush was inaugurated, a man without any security clearance bypassed three security checkpoints and shook Bush’s hand _ an escapade he pulled at President Clinton’s second inauguration, authorities said.

The man’s success at gaining access to Bush startled Secret Service agents and U.S. Capitol Police officers because security was intensified in preparation for large groups of protesters.

Capitol Police refused to give details except to say that the trespasser was unarmed and had been taken through a metal detector.

``There was an individual who had an unscheduled handshake with the President,″ Lt. Dan Nichols, a spokesman for the Capitol Police, said Tuesday night. ``It was noticed immediately and he was removed.″

The Washington Post, which first reported the incident in its Wednesday editions, said the man had a standing-room ticket for Saturday’s swearing-in ceremony but somehow made it into the VIP section and into the Capitol.

The man who shook Bush’s hand, was the same man who bypassed security after Clinton’s inauguration in 1997, a police official said.

Nichols said the incident will be considered during a review of security that occurs after every inauguration.

The man was never under arrest.

``He did not break any laws and therefore, there was no basis to arrest him,″ Nichols said. ``There is no law against shaking the president’s hand.″

The trespasser exploits during the Clinton inauguration had not been forgotten by those planning security for Bush. He was a constant subject of discussion by security officials before Bush’s inauguration, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Secret Service officials even showed a videotape of the man shaking Clinton’s hand to those handling security on Inauguration Day, the official said. The tape shows the trespasser approaching someone who had clearance to be near Clinton. The trespasser struck up a conversation with the cleared individual and shadowed him as he walked past a security checkpoint.

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