What is lost in all the hoopla over paparazzi pics of Barack Obama’s physique is this question:

If a photographer got to within 150 feet  of the president-elect to snap this photo, he was close enough to fire a rifle.  Where was the Secret Service??

This photo essay of the Obama family’s vacation and G.W.’s reliance on his cat-like reflexes when dodging Muntadhir Al-Zaidi’s size 10s make us wonder whether the Secret Service’s presidential details have themselves been on vacation over the past couple of weeks.

The photo agency who snapped the shots says security was well aware of the photographer’s presence, and assumes that the Obamas were in the know as well:

“In our parlance, we would say he gave it up. That’s the expression in the business. That he gave up the picture,” said Frank Griffin, of Bauer Griffin LLC, the photo agency that snapped the pictures.

The photographer didn’t hide what he was doing, snapping pictures from his perch on Kailua Beach. The Obama’s security detail has laid out a seaweed barrier in the sand and has been turning onlookers away.

But from that close, it’s hard to stop a telephoto lens.

“The lens was 2½ feet long. The Secret Service were well aware of him, they saw him,” said Griffin.

The Secret Service has tried to keep the press at bay, banning reporters and cameras from the front entrance of the rented estate where the future first family is vacationing, but the beach side is wide open.

This paparazzo got a clear shot at the prez elect and everyone in his family.  That seems a little close for comfort when death threats against Obama are higher than for any other president elect.  Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel has received threatening calls as well.

With a record crowd and a security nightmare expected at inauguration, we hope the Secret Service steps up its game before January 20.  Vacation photos and flying footwear aren’t so innocent when viewed as potential dry runs for assassination attempts.

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