But security trumps all. It is why last Wednesday fork-lift driving federal agents began to push floating booms threaded with steel cables into Tampa Harbour for deployment across inlets and channels to block possible incursions by small boats with bad intentions. That same afternoon, port officials huddled to discuss stopping stockpiles of anhydrous ammonia in Tampa Port falling into the wrong hands while elsewhere city leaders met with a Secret Service convention task force to hear about potential threats to the safety of delegates as well as response planning. The latter, one senior source confirmed anonymously, includes the placement of missile launchers on buildings, as has been the case for London.
“I don’t envy them,” said Greg Celestan, a retired Lt-Gen, who now runs an overseas intelligence consulting firm, Celestar. Tampa, which is home both to US Central Command and Special Operations Com-mand on MacDill Air Force Base inside the city limits, would present a tempting target, he said.
The proximity of the convention venue, the Tampa Forum, to one of the harbour’s channels concerns Mr Jones more than anything else. “Imagine a big speedboat barrelling up the channel packed with explosives at 60mph,” he said gravely. “It would be a horrible thing.”