From NBC's Mike Viqueira
You may have heard about the "Purple Tunnel of Doom," wherein bona fide Inaugural ticket holders were directed by police into the Third Street tunnel that runs under the base of Capitol Hill, only to become trapped there and miss the entire ceremony. Survivors have even dedicated a Web site in order to commiserate over their plight.
Congressman and member of the House Democratic leadership, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, has written to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chair of the JCIC, endorsing the idea of an investigation.
His letter to DiFi:
"I am writing to express my deep concern over the fact that thousands of people who had tickets were denied access to the historic swearing-in ceremony for President Barack Obama, and applaud you for initiating a thorough investigation into how this happened. I strongly endorse this review and look forward to learning what went wrong so we can avoid such problems in the future.
"My office has received many calls and emails from constituents expressing their disappointment and heartbreak over not being able to witness this momentous occasion. And to be clear, these are individuals who did everything they were supposed to do. They obtained tickets issued by the Joint Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies; they arrived at the entrance gates early in the morning; and they waited for hours to go through security. Yet despite following the rules, they were still denied access. And worse yet, they were kept in the dark - deprived of information - as the hours passed and their hopes of seeing history in the making slipped away. As one of my constituent put it, 'I waited more than 50 years for this moment, and now I've missed it.'
"I understand and appreciate the enormous security challenges presented by the nearly 2 million people who took part in this inaugural event, and I salute the extraordinary planning that went into this effort. However, I am baffled by the break down, on such a broad scale, of the processing of people who followed the rules and came only to see, hear and be part of this remarkable moment in our nation's history.
"I look forward to reviewing the findings of the investigation so we can ensure accountability and prevent such breakdowns in the future."