Beginning May 1, the Federal Protective Service agents will be in Chicago for “Operation Red Zone.” Although the officers will not necessarily be restricting residents from accessing any public spaces that they are normally permitted to enter, the agents will be patrolling — in complete battle gear.
CHICAGO (CBS) — As concerns about security grow in the run-up to the NATO summit, it’s becoming difficult to separate myth from reality.
Are there plans in place for a mass evacuation of downtown in the event of riots on May 20-21? A Red Cross memo out of Milwaukee indicates that there is.
Officials there have been asked to make plans to assist residents in the event of a mass exodus.
Chicago officials say the plan didn’t come from them. The U.S. Secret Service isn’t talking.
There also are reports that a heavily armed security team will start making a very public appearance around federal buildings in the Loop this week. Officials with the Chicago NATO host committee were completely in the dark. They had no reports of any such plans.
A source told CBS 2 that security forces in full battle gear would not be seen this week.
As for the Red Cross plan, CBS 2 News has obtained a copy of an e-mail sent to volunteers in the Milwaukee area.
It said the NATO summit “may create unrest or another national security incident. The American Red Cross in southeastern Wisconsin has been asked to place a number of shelters on standby in the event of evacuation of Chicago.”
According to a chapter spokesperson, the evacuation plan is not theirs alone.
“Our direction has come from the City of Chicago and the Secret Service,” she said.
The Sun-Times explains that the move is meant to ensure that a large section of the metropolis will be safe from unruly mobs during next month’s conference, but not even the city’s own elected officials and leaders were made aware of the agency’s plans to put fully equipped federal cops into town in advance.
“A lot of us were surprised to read that. Obviously, the federal government doesn’t consult with the city when they do this. Everybody was unaware of this,” NATO Host Committee Executive Director Lori Healey tells the Sun-Times.
Even at the top of the city’s political structure, Mayor Rahm Emanuel — a close, personal pal of US President Barack Obama and former White House chief of staff — was allegedly unaware of the government’s game plan.
“This was a security decision and we were not involved,” the mayor’s communications director, Sarah Hamilton, explains to the Sun-Times.
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edit on 2-5-2012 by BIHOTZ because: (no reason given)