When is a press conference like a plane ride?

Following up on Elizabeth's post yesterday, looks like the Secret Service has been feeling some heat about the flying Iraqi footwear.

"They are already so protected as it is that it's hard to imagine how they could guard against something like this," said John E. Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, a think tank on defense and security issues. "It just comes with the territory."

Zahren said that those at the news conference at the prime minister's palace were screened with magnetometers and were given additional pat-downs to ensure that no weapons were brought into the room. U.S. officials also conducted background and identity checks on all participants ahead of time as usual, he said.

I agree that it's probably impossible to anticipate everything, and shoe-throwing probably didn't occur to anyone. I don't know if this means future press conferences will be sock hops, but at least the TSA has already broken us in a bit. However, you'd think that maybe the men in dark glasses could have gotten to him between shoe number one and shoe number two.

As for the calls for Zaidi's release, I have a hard time with the idea of letting him walk. I don't like Bush...at all. I imagine that, were I an Iraqi, I would like him even less. And if Zaidi had merely yelled and made obscene gestures, I'd say that he should be a free man. But he threw two shoes at the face of the President of the United States. Hard. And that crosses the line between free speech and assault. So, while I hope his sentence is not unduly harsh, I don't think the man should get off scott free.

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