Inside the FBI's Inauguration Command Center
A rare look inside the Washington Field Office's Command and Tactical Operations Center as personnel coordinate the FBI's role in the presidential inauguration.
(ambient sounds from crowds)
John Perren, Special Agent in Charge, Washington Field Office Counterterrorism Division: We’re at the Washington Field Office Command and Tactical Operations Center. We’ve been running 24-7 since the 17 th, and we are gonna go past the 17 th to probably the wee morning hours of the 21 st.
We’ve got agents literally from all over the country that have some sort of expertise when it comes to special events, or post-blast investigation. They’ve been all over the world doing this type of thing; in case something were to happen we have experts here.
Joe Gordon, Special Agent, National Capital Response Squad: We certainly expected the volume and certainly unexpected as to where the streets are today. The planning process for this has been going on for six months in the detailed level but really in years.
For the FBI CTOC here this is our main special event command post. We house most of our communication infrastructure here. Peak today we’ll have 155 intelligence and investigation teams JTTF teams out on the streets, out in the National Capital region.
Special Agent, National Capital Response Squad: Today we’ve been working suspicious packages and other hazmat-type related calls that have been going on during the inauguration. The challenges for this years inauguration was the number of people, just having this many people in the city is not something that we see ever.
Special Agent, Washington Field Office WMD Coordinator: We haven’t seen any protests, any violence, or anything like that. Everybody’s been in a great mood. I mean, there’s been some anger that they haven’t been able to get to see everything.
We have run less today than usual. There’s more teams on the street. There’s more assets out there. So divided among a larger number of people on the street there’s been less calls for everyone to run. So it’s been a lot more manageable.
Special Agent (unseen): This is our tracking database for all of our specialty teams that we have deployed throughout the National Capital region. They are able to get around with their lights and siren. The majority of them are outside of the main crowds on the Mall area, so they’re kind of skirting around both sides. We’ve got them deployed evenly on both sides. We also have air units deployed as well.
Joe Gordon: This is something that we’ve never seen, and talking to the senior agents around here, and law enforcement partners that are here, they’ve never seen anything like this before either.
Joseph Persichini, Jr., Assistant Director in Charge, Washington Field Office: The day’s only half-finished. We won’t be finished until the president ends up back at the White House, so we’ve got probably another maybe 10 or 12 hours to go.
At 3 a.m. tomorrow, we’ll talk about exciting. But until we get to that point we got a lot of work to do. As you can see the command post is humming and there’s activity going on constantly. I’m really proud to be associated with there dedicated men and women. There people are experts. Many of the people in this office are battle-tested. They were here at 9/11, responded to the Pentagon. We’ve done more NSSE here than probably most cities, but every day’s a new twist.
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