By Nikki Schwab, Washington Whispers
Disappointed inauguration purple-ticket holders are finally getting answers as to why they were left shivering for hours in the "Purple Tunnel of Doom" instead of witnessing Barack Obama's historic speech January 20. Apparently law enforcement had looked for the swarming crowds in the wrong tunnel, says U.S. Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan. At a House hearing this week, he said that pedestrians were supposed to use the southbound Third Street Tunnel to get to the inaugural festivities, while the northbound tunnel was to be closed to the public and reserved for emergency vehicle use only. But that didn't happen because the truck carrying crowd barriers was vandalized and didn't show up in time. The result: Purple-ticket holders began using the north tunnel. "I believe what happened is that people who got queued up in that line felt that that line was going to lead to the purple gate," Sullivan said. That's not all. When those stuck in the tunnel tried calling police to alert them to the problem, law enforcement, under the impression that the north tunnel had been closed, simply checked the south tunnel. "Believe it or not, nobody took a look at the north tunnel," Sullivan admitted. To which Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz exclaimed, "That's a big ball to drop."
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