Friday, November 18, 2016

Trump chokes Manhattan

So Trump wants to spend lots of time in his high tower in midtown Manhattan.

If so, his home, in the penthouse of Trump Tower, on W. 56th Street and Fifth Avenue, will be the epicenter of an iron curtain that will wall off much of Midtown from the rest of the city. Creating a permanent, sterile environment inside a 58-story, multi-occupancy building on one of the busiest streets in one of the busiest cities in the world poses an unprecedented challenge for the Secret Service and the military.
Completed in 1983, the glass-enclosed Trump Tower was designed before New York became a prime target for terrorist threats. It’s a sturdy building, but it wasn’t constructed with security in mind.
From now until the end of Trump’s presidency, everyone who enters and exits the building will have to be vetted by the Secret Service, even if the Trumps aren’t there. At the very least, their names will be run through agency threat databases. The service will want to inspect every package that goes into the building and will insist that staffers — at every shop, restaurant and residence — be scanned with a hand-held magnetometer, which detects hidden metal. When Trump is there, all of their personal effects will probably be checked by bomb-detection dogs, too.
Trump’s office is about 30 floors below his apartment. In between and below are residences and offices owned or leased by other people, who have rights that the city and state of New York are obligated to enforce. (For instance, the federal government can’t evict or move tenants at will.) Celebrities such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruce Willis, who keep apartments in the building, will find themselves living in Trump’s bubble.
The Secret Service has a special unit that will defend Trump Tower’s electronic and cyber architecture from electronic attack. Occupants might have to surrender some privacy as agents look to monitor incoming phone calls and even Internet traffic. The White House Communications Agency (WHCA) will build a separate, air-gapped Internet to carry classified information inside the intranet of Trump Tower, and the White House Military Office (WHMO) will provide Trump’s residence and office with an uninterrupted supply of power. Can the building handle the infrastructure without displacing others? Can the penthouse windows handle up-armoring?
The WHMO will require significant new space of its own somewhere in the building. That means it will pay rent to its landlord — that is, to Trump, if the agency uses space that the Trump Organization owns. This would not be unprecedented; Vice President Biden charged the Secret Service to occupy a building on his property in Delaware. Government rules prevent the agency from accepting anything of significant value from a protectee, and land has value. During the campaign, Trump was able to recoup $1.6 million from the Secret Service because he flew on his own planes, and the agents, just like everyone else, had to pay for their seats.
Trump will need his own Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility at Trump Tower so he can openly and safely discuss national security matters. The WHMO’s Presidential Contingency Programs Office, which supervises the highly secret continuity-of-the-presidency and continuity-of-government schemes, will probably have to revise its playbooks for catastrophic emergencies. While Trump is in residence, a helicopter has to be stationed somewhere close by so he can be quickly evacuated from Manhattan, and at least one airplane will always have to be kept fueled, on standby, waiting to take the president to a military base in the event of a crisis. Safe houses need to be opened, maintained and kept secret.
Thanks to the barricades and blockages around Trump Tower, local businesses are already reeling from a mini-Trump recession. Henri Bendel, across the street from Trump Tower, shut its doors mid-afternoon at least twice this past week; there was not enough foot traffic to justify keeping the store open. The manager of ObicĂ , a fancy Italian restaurant in the IBM building, at 56th Street and Madison Avenue, told CBS News that sales were already suffering from the pre-inauguration traffic closures put in place by the police. Traffic in Midtown is always intense. It will get much worse.
Essentially, Trump has turned into a human dirty bomb, exploding his presence all throughout midtown Manhattan, rendering it a "no-go" zone for years.

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