'Tunnel People' Get Probe of Inaugural Ticket Mess

Thousands waited in tunnel; Feinstein apologizes
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2009 8:15 AM CST
'Tunnel People' Get Probe of Inaugural Ticket Mess
People with purple tickets line the 3rd Street tunnel in line to watch the inauguration of Barack Obama at the Capitol, in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.    (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

As President Obama’s inauguration approached, thousands of would-be spectators got stuck in an immobile line that stretched into a tunnel beneath the National Mall. And there they waited, for hours, missing the ceremony despite their tickets. With their plight getting more publicity—yep, there's now a Facebook group—Sen. Dianne Feinstein has apologized and is seeking a probe by the Secret Service and other law enforcement into what went wrong, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Holders of purple tickets were told to queue up until gates opened at 8. But the line grew to more than a mile long, witnesses said, and by 9am, there was no sign of movement in the tunnel. “There was no one to aid or guide us," said one visitor. "I guess security totally broke down.” The Senate’s chief law enforcement officer, watching video of the event, called the situation “clumsy” but disagreed with many of the complaints.
(More inauguration stories.)

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