For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 10, 2002
Preparing for the World: Homeland Security and Winter Olympics
On February 8th, the Winter Olympics returns to the United
States. The world's greatest athletes will test themselves
and one another in Salt Lake City, Utah. It will also be a
major test of our ability to protect those athletes and an estimated
million-plus visitors. And security for these Winter Games
will be more thorough, more visible, better planned and better
coordinated than any Olympics in history. We will show the
world we can safeguard the Olympic ideal without sacrificing our
American ideals -- openness, mobility, diversity, and economic
opportunity in the process.
About the Winter Olympics
Providing security for the Winter Olympics is a massive
undertaking. An average of 70,000-80,000 visitors are
expected to arrive in Salt Lake City every day for 17
days. The last Winter Olympics in America took place in the
small town of Lake Placid, New York -- pop. 2,700. By
contrast, Salt Lake City is a bustling city of 800,000, and the Games
will take place over 900 square miles. Security in Lake
Placid was served by about 1,000 federal, state and local
personnel. In Salt Lake City, that number will total more
More than $300 million in combined federal, state and local funds
have been allocated for security for the Winter Olympics. It
will go towards making these Games as safe and secure as possible.
Taking the Lead On Security
The United States Secret Service, under the U.S. Department of the
Treasury, is the lead agency for designing, planning and implementing
security at the Salt Lake City Games.
They have had that role since August 1999,
when the Olympics were named a National Special Security Event (NSSE),
the first Olympics so designated. Previously,
the U.S. Secret Service performed the lead security role at the 2000
U.N. Millennium Summit in New York City and the 2001 Presidential
Inaugural in Washington, D.C.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA) will also have major security roles.
The FBI is the lead agency for crisis
management investigating and preventing terrorist threats and
apprehending those responsible. FEMA is the
lead agency for consequence management -- coordinating the federal
response to any unexpected incident that may adversely affect the
health and safety of the public.
Security for the Games: A National Effort
Homeland security is a national, not a federal,
effort. Our first line of defense in an emergency -- the
thousands of "first responders" on hand in Salt Lake City -- are
locally based. And the security effort for the Winter Games
has been a true partnership, with unprecedented cooperation and
coordination between federal, state and local agencies and officials.
Federal, state and local agencies are
sharing intelligence with one another to ensure a high level of
readiness during the Games.
Dozens of state
and local law enforcement agencies have taken part in security planning
through the Utah Olympic Public Safety Command (UOPSC), contributing
valuable resources and invaluable expertise.
During the Games, these agencies will continue
to help coordinate security from the Olympic Coordination Center (OCC)
in Salt Lake City, manned 24 hours a day.
provide a one-stop, single source for all public safety information,
agencies will coordinate with the Joint Information Center (JIC),
housed in the State Capitol Building.
Assisted by Washington
Numerous federal agencies are assisting emergency preparedness,
response and recovery.
The Department of Defense will provide
4,500 military servicemen and -women, including Reserves and the
National Guard, to back local and federal agencies with logistics,
communications, explosives detection, and aviation support.
The U.S. Customs Service will patrol the skies
and provide airspace security.
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) will commit more than 200
Border Patrol Agents to assist in securing Olympic venues.
The U.S. Marshals Service will send more than 100 Deputy
Marshals and specialized equipment to secure specific Olympic venues and
to provide security for Public Health Service emergency medical teams in
the case of a major medical crisis.
FEMA's National Emergency Response Team and
several of their Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces will be in Utah to
The Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms will assist the FBI in preventing, interdicting
and investigating explosives and arson crimes.
The FBI will operate a mobile field laboratory
to detect and analyze radioactivity and chemical- and bio-weapons
The Department of Energy will
monitor the critical energy infrastructure in the Salt Lake City area,
and will have nuclear response teams on alert.
The Environmental Protection Agency will
provide support for state and local HazMat teams.
The Department of Health and Human Services
will help the FBI coordinate our crisis response to any bio-terror
threat. The department will deploy 18 five-person medical
strike teams, and a 36-person National Medical Response Team.
The Centers for Disease Control will have
emergency response coordinators, lab scientists and other professionals
on the ground.
The Food and Drug
Administration will be responsible for conducting food safety
inspections inside the Olympic Village and at other venues.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will
provide logistical support and security at a number of venues; more
than 100 Forest Service law enforcement officers will be on the slopes
and mountain perimeters, providing security 24 hours a day.
The National Park Service will provide
manpower and expertise at the outdoor venues, which will host events
such as downhill and cross-country skiing and bobsledding.
The Department of Transportation will help
ensure mobility in and around Salt Lake City, and will evacuate people
out of the area in the event of a crisis. DOT will also
transport response teams and equipment as needed.
Prepared and Practiced
We are well-prepared for any contingency.
Security preparations have been underway
since Salt Lake City was selected to host the Games by the
International Olympic Committee in June 1995.
An Olympic Joint Terrorism Task Force has been
established, capable of collecting and analyzing intelligence and
investigating threats in virtually any jurisdiction and at every
We have applied the lessons learned
from the terrorist attacks at the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics and the
1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics.
attacks of 9-11, a thorough re-evaluation was performed to close any
gaps that remain. Air security was stepped up, entrance to
venues made more stringent and some non-competition sites made more
World-class athletes and teams know that preparation requires
practice. Our world-class security teams know this as well.
In November 2000, our state-of-the-art
advanced interagency communications system was tested in a Command Post
Exercise conducted by the FBI and the UOPSC.
In April 2001, a Field Training Exercise for
1,600 security personnel was conducted throughout the Olympic theater,
complete with mock terrorist assaults, simulated hazardous materials
incidents and crisis management drills.
Highly Visible = Highly Secure
Visitors to Salt Lake City have a right not only to be safe, but to
feel safe. Much of the security surrounding the Salt Lake
City Games will be highly visible, helping to deter potential threats
before they happen. A sampling:
A 45-mile-radius restricted flying area
over Salt Lake City and all Olympic venues will be in place from
Armed soldiers of the Utah National Guard
will patrol airport terminals.
Salt Lake City International Airport will
be able to screen all baggage for explosives -- one of the nation's
first airports with that capability.
For the first time in a Winter Olympics,
all visitors at all venues will be subject to metal detectors (nearly
1,000 of them).
Biometric scanners will be used to
identify athletes and officials, allowing them to enter sensitive areas
while keeping others out.
Strategically placed cameras will record
Portable X-ray equipment will be used to
inspect any mail that appears suspicious.
Vehicles will be prohibited from
approaching the outdoor and indoor venues and other selected buildings
beyond a 300-foot perimeter.
We can prepare for a safe Winter Olympics. But we cannot
make any promises. As Utah Governor Mike Leavitt has
correctly said, "Our efforts can only go to minimize, not eliminate,
What we can promise is that America will be better prepared than
ever before to detect an attack -- to deter it from happening -- and to
protect the public in the extremely unlikely event that one should