Fake News: Presidential security and the WaPo

One of the running jokes I used in my intelligence officer days was, “I routinely read the propaganda of America’s enemies. Pravda, Izvestia, The Worker’s Daily and The New York Times.  We can add The Washington Post.

A recent meme on the Internet shows the purported cost of security for the Trumps in New York:

Occupy Democrats ranks up there with MSNBC, Politico and the Puffington Host.  When you want it out but even the Onion says, “Hey, we gotta have some credibility,” you go there.   But this particular story has a link to another source of fake news, The Washington PostThe show great concern about the cost security of the Trump family and how much this is costing the taxpayers:

In New York, the city is paying $500,000 a day to guard Trump Tower, according to police officials’ estimates, an amount that could reach $183 million a year.

A half-million a day for the City of New York?  Let’s run the numbers on this. The hourly rate for a NYPD officer is around thirty-six dollars an hour, so the OT rate is fifty-four dollars an hour.  Five-hundred thousand divided by fifty-four equals 9259 man hours of overtime, a day.    According to the “source” the NYPD alone is using just over one-man year of manpower (365 x 24 equals 8760 hours per year) every day to guard the president and his family.  Impossible.  Run the numbers further.  Assume you have officers on overtime on an eight hour shifts to guard the Trumps.  Divide the 9259 total hours by 8, that equals 1137 shifts a day on special assignment (at the regular pay rate the number would be much higher). Over a twenty-four hour period with three eight-hour shifts, that’s almost four hundred officers at any given moment. Are there 400 cops working around Trump Tower for security?  I haven’t seen that on CBS or The New York Times, and if it were true it would be shown every day.

I have had the “privilege” of being part of the security for two vice presidents before, and it is a logistical nightmare.  I’ve been part of the security deployed for Dick Cheney and Joe Biden when they came to Houston for a few hours.  The effort to move and secure these men is enormous and the fact the Secret Service does it daily so smoothly is a credit to the organization and its staff.  And there is no question it’s expensive, in terms of manpower and finance.

That being said, there is no way this “news story” is anything but a hit piece on the Trumps.  And The Washington Post continues this at its own peril. The American people already lack trust in mass media and that skepticism is supported by propaganda like this.  And the American people are not served when the press abandons its constitutional function as a “loyal opposition” to the government in power.  But as has been seen since at least the Kennedy years, you can scratch part of that term, depending upon who is in power.  When a Republican is in office, you can delete “loyal.”  If a Democrat is in power, you can delete “opposition.”

Michael A. Thiac is a police patrol sergeant and a retired Army intelligence officer. When not patrolling the streets, he can be found on A Cop’s Watch

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