One of the key functions for Interpol, the international police organization, will be to speed intelligence data sharing between countries so threats can be deterred. U.K. officials scan Interpol data 130 million times per year, Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble told the AP during an exclusive interview at the agency’s Lyon headquarters.
“The truth is, and we know this from Norway, that you can’t identify one ethnic group and say that’s the ethnic group that should only concern us,” Noble said. “But this Olympics — from all that I know and based on all the information that Interpol has — should be a safe Olympics.”
Shared intelligence, better technology and boosted resources have allowed security officials to crack organized plots before they happen but the possibility of a self-starter extremist who operates below the radar remains one of the biggest fears.
In the case of Breivik, there were few warning signals that the self-styled anti-Muslim fanatic was about to kill 77 people last summer. The same essentially was true for Mohamed Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian descent who in March killed three paratroopers, a rabbi and three Jewish school children in southwest France.
Security officials say unless people are already known to authorities, they can go virtually undetected as they plan atrocities.
The overall security numbers are staggering. The games will be protected by some 12,000 police officers during peak times and 23,700 security staff — a number that includes some 13,500 troops on standby, which is more than the 9,500 British troops currently in Afghanistan. A no-fly zone will also be established over Olympic venues from July 14 to August 15.
More than 100,000 people have applied for jobs at Olympics venues, being vetted for employment history and possible criminal backgrounds. The more rigorous checks are done by the government for accreditation to get into the games, according to Ian Horseman Sewell with G4S, a global company providing most of the training and security staff for the Olympics.
Still, Sewell admits London is different than past games.
“London is a proven terrorist target and it is the first time the summer Olympics have been operated in a post 7/7 environment in a place that isn’t a totalitarian state,” Sewell said, referring to the 2005 suicide bombings in London and the 2008 Beijing games. “From a security perspective, London is breaking new ground.”
G4S will also help secure venues outside of the park and protect athletes.
Some specific teams from places like Belarus, Belgium, New Zealand and Vietnam will be training in northern France to keep costs down — a move that prompted a joint Franco-British security exercise earlier this year.
Protecting athletes has been a concern since a terror attack at the 1972 Olympics in Munich killed 11 Israeli athletes and coaches.
“Israeli athletes will be staying away from the others in a more secluded area and with more security,” a senior Israeli intelligence official told the AP, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of his job. “But a repetition of what happened in Munich is considered unlikely because Israel is ready and also because it isn’t the kind of attack Palestinians would want now.”
Technology has also advanced from past games.
Special Israeli surveillance technology has been rolled out for the Olympics across Britain, a country already known for its 4 million closed-circuit television cameras. Even more cameras have been installed at the Olympic Park.View Entire Story
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