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Low-Flying Blackhawk Helicopters Give Downtown A Scare

By Chuck Sudo in News on Apr 17, 2012 1:50PM

If our Twitter feed was any indication, a few of our readers were freaking out—rightfully—about seeing Blackhawk helicopters armed to the teeth flying low over the city last night. Be advised: It may be happening again throughout the week.

The city's Office of Emergency Management released a statement late Monday that said Chicago is the site of a military exercise this week involving military personnel and at least three helicopters. OMEC said this was routine training that happens around the country and not related to preparation for the May NATO summit, a party line very few bought, if this Fox News Chicago video is an indication.

Blackhawks Circle Low Through Chicago Skies as Secret Service Releases Security Details:

The training exercises came as a shopping list from the Secret Service for "terror-proofing" the NATO summit was revealed.

That list includes:

  • Portable high security barriers capable of withstanding the impact of a 15,000-pound vehicle hitting it at up to 50 mph. The barrier needs to be installed within one hour or less.
  • Crowd control barriers: Eight-foot-high steel fences with 1/8-inch steel mesh “to mitigate/disperse thrown liquids.” (Apparently the "anarchists throw their pee at cops" meme is still going strong.) The barricade must be “environmentally sensitive” but strong enough to not be pulled or pushed down, “taken apart, set on fire and easily climbed on.”
  • 10-12 portable light towers
  • Sandbags, port-a-potties, and tents
  • Mobile offices
  • Five to 10 golf carts

The Secret Service wouldn't comment on where the barriers are going, nor would they comment on how large the security perimeter around McCormick Place would be. The tribune theorizes construction of the perimeter will begin May 14, a week before the summit.