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Secret Service Ordered End to Gun Checks at Obama Rally
By E&P
By E&P Staff
February 22, 2008

NEW YORK The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported late Thursday that security details at Barack Obama's rally in Dallas (of all places) on Wednesday "stopped screening people for weapons at the front gates more than an hour before the Democratic presidential candidate took the stage at Reunion Arena.

"The order to put down the metal detectors and stop checking purses and laptop bags came as a surprise to several Dallas police officers who said they believed it was a lapse in security," reported the paper's Jack Douglas, Jr. More than 10 days remain until the Texas primary and a key vote for president.

"Dallas Deputy Police Chief T.W. Lawrence, head of the Police Department's homeland security and special operations divisions, said the order -- apparently made by the U.S. Secret Service -- was meant to speed up the long lines outside and fill the arena's vacant seats before Obama came on. '"Sure,' said Lawrence, when asked if he was concerned by the great number of people who had gotten into the building without being checked. But, he added, the turnout of more than 17,000 people seemed to be a 'friendly crowd.'"

The Secret Service did not return a call from the Star-Telegram seeking comment.

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