This is a picture from inside a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, aka a makeshift tent that lets top government officials discuss top secret information anywhere in the world. As you can see by the fugly floral carpeting, Obama’s tent was propped up inside a hotel.
SCIFs are actually very interesting. They’re designed to withstand anything from eavesdropping to computer hacking and according to the BBC, made from “a secret material which is designed to keep emissions in and listening devices out”. Hey, that “secret material” looks like blue tarp to me, but what do I know. More seriously, circling the exterior of the SCIF is a “ring of electronic waves” which prevents signals from getting in or out of the tent. Though they allow a secure and encrypted phone line to get out (as can be seen in the photo).
It’s good to know how cautious they are though! They scout out buildings the President will visit beforehand to determine where they can place the tent. Ideally, the SCIF is far away from windows and concentrations of people. Sometimes they even create a SCIF with its own air supply and control the perimeter with guards. They’re constantly improving the SCIF, which is supposed to be 99.9 per cent infallible. [BBC via Kottke]