Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Obama code-named 'smart alec'

Obama code-named ‘smart alec’ in Britain

By Rachel Rose Hartman

Do Brits think Barack Obama is a bit of a "smart alec"?
The label certainly appears to fit in the minds of British police. Scotland Yard, the UK's police force, has given Obama the security codename 'Chalaque' for his visit this week to the United Kingdom, the UK Daily Mail reports. The term is reportedly a Punjabi word meaning someone who is too clever for his own good, according to the newspaper.
A Punjabi speaker told the newspaper that the word is 'not considered rude', but could be 'mildly offensive'. "It is also said to mean 'cheeky, crafty and cunning'," the paper notes.
Scotland Yard insiders told the Sunday Times that codewords are randomly generated by computer, "but the paper wondered why officials decided to stick with them, when they could have simply had another word selected that would be less provocative," the paper notes.
As in Britain, security code names are used in America by U.S. Secret Service to identify high-profile individuals under their protection.
President Obama's code name at the time of the 2008 election was "Renegade" and Michelle Obama's was "Renaissance." Secret Service code names typically change over time.
The president and the First Lady on Tuesday travel to Buckingham Palace as guests of Queen Elizabeth. Yesterday, the president's armored car--nicknamed the Beast--got stuck as it tried to leave the U.S. embassy in Dublin.

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