President Obama left the Seattle area Wednesday morning – and his motorcade left a huge traffic jam in his wake. Despite the gridlock, the Department of Transportation made the unprecedented decision to black out traffic cameras on the motorcade route.
In all of President Obama's previous visits to Seattle, including the presidents before him, this has never happened.
WSDOT said the request to shut down the cameras came in from the Secret Service Tuesday night. When asked why, no one from WSDOT to the State Patrol to the Secret Service could or would answer the question.
When Obama arrived Tuesday night for his fundraisers on the Eastside, various WSDOT cams showed the presidential motorcade making its way to Hunts Point.
But right around 6:30 p.m. when Obama arrived, the State Patrol said an agent in the motorcade made the request to black out the DOT cams for the rest of his visit while the motorcade was on the move.
For the president’s trip back to Boeing Field Wednesday morning, the cameras along the route went black, in the middle of a tough commute when drivers need DOT cams the most.
WSDOT used their Twitter feed to keep drivers up to date on road closures and traffic problems. Frustrated drivers also responded on Twitter to question and complain about the DOT cams, saying it made no sense.
On Wednesday at WSDOT traffic headquarters in Shoreline, no one would discuss the issue on camera, referring all questions to the Secret Service.
This is the first time the Secret Service made the request to WSDOT, for this president or any of his predecessors. The Secret Service did not make the request at his previous stop in Portland, or at his next stop in New Orleans.
The question is, was all of this cause by some sort of security threat? The West Coast campaign spokesperson declined to answer any questions regarding this issue. The Secret Service did not return any calls from KING 5.
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This was Obama's third trip to Seattle in 2012, and his fourth since September of last year.
Tuesday night's fundraisers were held at former Costco CEO Jim Sinegal’s home in the Hunts Point. An exclusive reception cost $36,000 to attend, followed by a larger reception costing about $5,000 per person.
KING 5's Elisa Hahn, Lindsay Chamberlain and Liza Javier contributed to this report.