I appreciate the invitation to appear before you to discuss security
measures taken by organizing committees and public officials on
behalf of those who attended or participated in past Olympic Games,
and how lessons learned from these past events may serve to ensure
better security for future Olympic Games.
Given the enormity of the Games, including the extraordinary number
of nations that participate, and its worldwide audience, the Olympic
Games present a tempting target for a wide variety of disruptive
activities, from simple demonstrations to violent acts of terrorism.
Of course, the goal of the host country is to provide a secure
environment for the staging of the Olympic Games. The success
of this endeavor is critical to the presentation of the world’s
largest and most widely viewed sporting event.
There are factors, such as applicable laws, governmental structure,
jurisdictional authority, available assets and culture, that govern
or influence planning and ultimately the security measures taken
by federal, state and local level officials of any host nation.
Additionally, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is an international
non-government, non-profit organization that owns all rights to
the Olympic Games and dictates specific rules under which the Games
are organized and presented. It is also the umbrella organization
of the Olympic Movement which includes the National Olympic Committees,
International Sports Federations, and various other organizations
and institutions recognized by the IOC as well as the host city
The makeup of past organizing committees has varied greatly, from
including direct government representation to that of being solely
private, as is done in the U.S. During the course of its planning,
the organizing committee makes many decisions, such as venue selection,
venue design, policies regarding admission to events or access
to athlete housing and training sites, pre-event protection of
property and assets, Olympic family housing, accreditation, and
use of private security, that impact security planning measures.
The host country government structure and its representation, or
lack thereof, in the organizing committee affects the degree of
authority and participation government security forces exercise
inside properties and facilities owned, contracted to or used by
the Olympic family.
Government Olympic security efforts are focused on issues of public
safety. In general terms, preparations are divided into topics
of Intelligence, Investigation, Physical Security, Emergency Response
to Incidents, and Mitigation of Incidents. Due to unique jurisdictional,
legislative and budgetary issues as well as widely different capabilities,
all agencies recognize that planning and operational execution
requires an immense amount of interagency communication and cooperation.
The tragic incident during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany
certainly changed the world’s view of the standard of security
necessary for the Games. The subsequent expectations of the IOC,
athletes, delegations and spectators for extraordinary security
at Olympic Games have been met by successively increased government
commitment to security and expenditures. In recent years, as
terrorist activity has increased, and the methods used to strike
more sophisticated, efforts to protect the Games have become
more complex and expensive.
I would like to briefly illustrate this to you using examples
of four recent summer Olympic Games.
Los Angeles – 1984
When Tehran, the only other city bidding for the 1984 Olympic
Games, withdrew, Los Angeles was awarded the Games by the IOC,
but the issue of financing became an obstacle to the city signing
a contract. In an unprecedented move by the IOC, the financial
liability for the Games was removed from the City of Los Angeles
and placed on a private organizing committee. The Los Angeles
Olympic Organizing Committee (LAOOC) was the first private committee,
official ties to government, to organize and operate the Olympic
Games. As such, LAOOC’s philosophy was to be as economic
as possible while still presenting a complete Olympics. The presentation
of the Games was financed by the private sector, without government
subsidies or taxpayer contributions, but the costs of protecting
the Games greatly exceeded agencies normal operating budgets.
This greatly impacted federal, state and local organizations that
had a duty to provide for the public safety. Use of as many existing
facilities as possible spread the core of the Games over seven
southern California counties, with preliminary soccer events
in Massachusetts and Maryland. By and large, LAOOC did not request
specific security services from government and therefore was
obligated to pay for them. Only a small portion of local governments’ security
costs were financially assumed by LAOOC.
Before the Organizing Committee was actively involved in security
planning for the Games, the Los Angeles Police Department, the
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and the FBI took
the lead and coordinated security planning. The cornerstone of
the planning, which continued through the Games, was the recognition
of jurisdictional autonomy. Sixteen topics formed the basis for
the security planning structure. They were Accreditation, Air
Support, Bombs/Explosive Devices, Communications, Community Relations,
Prevention, Criminal Justice, Dignitary Protection, Emergency
Response, Intelligence, International Entry, In Transit Security,
Village Security, Traffic Control, Training, Transportation and
Venue/Vital Point Security.
The federal government supplemented local law enforcement agencies
with approximately $50 million of logistical support equipment
that they needed to provide adequate security for the Games, including
communications equipment, helicopters, intrusion detection systems
for the villages and miscellaneous medical equipment.
The security department of LAOCC, which had no law enforcement
authority, took the responsibility for protecting property and
assets belonging to LAOOC, providing accreditation control at the
villages, venues and training sites, providing security for IOC
officials, and protecting special interest areas such as press
and broadcast zones and accreditation, illegal substance control
and computer centers.
Recognizing that many more agencies had need for Olympic related
intelligence than were involved in intelligence collection, the
FBI hosted a center that received information from national, state
and local agencies, and distributed pertinent information to agencies
and organizations with protection responsibilities.
In all, some 7000 law enforcement officers were committed to the
Games, with substantial federal assets poised to respond to breaches
of security, mass medical emergencies or threats that were beyond
the capacity of local or state agencies.
The Los Angeles Olympics established the public safety-organizing
committee relationship that has in large measure carried through
subsequent Olympic Games hosted in the United States.
Seoul – 1988
The presentation of the XXIVth Olympiad was fully supported and
directed by the Republic of Korea Government. The Seoul Olympic
Organizing Committee (SLOOC) was formed in 1981.
The organizational structure of security for the Olympic Games
was divided into two parts. The SLOOC had a security department
that was responsible for overall coordination between the SLOOC
Games Operations Division and the government security. It had planning
responsibility in areas of opening and closing ceremonies, 34 competition
venues, 72 practice sites, the cultural events and the Olympic
The government security operation was headed by the Committee
for Security Measures. This was the policy making body for security
for the Games and was chaired by the Director of the Agency for
National Security Planning (NSP) with members from 12 government
Day to day planning and operations for security of the Games focused
at the Security Coordination and Control Headquarters which was
responsible for overall planning, coordination and control of security
operations for the Olympic Games. It was headed by a deputy director
in the NSP with assistant directors for NSP affairs, Korean National
Police affairs and military affairs.
There were nine security divisions to address major security topics.
They were Planning, Counterterrorism, Technical Support, Intelligence,
Venue Protection, Personnel and VIP Security, Athletes Village
Protection, Traffic Coordination and Training.
Physical security duties for the various sites and functions were
assigned either to the Korean National Police or Korean military
units. The Korean National Police committed over 47,000 officers
to Olympic security and the military committed over 42,000 personnel.
Before and during the Olympic Games, there were approximately
42,000 U. S. military personnel assigned in the Republic of Korea.
The U.S. military Olympic security responsibilities related primarily
to the protection of U.S. military personnel and property. It was
proactive in training and exercise with the Korean military.
The 1988 Games underscored the necessity for cooperation and mutual
support in the international community of law enforcement, not
only in training matters, but in the execution of the security
itself. For example, air travel was, and will continue to be, a
primary means of transport to an Olympic host country. In a time
before the high level of screening that is in place today, not
only did the host country have stringent security, but obtained
the cooperation of other airports that formed the feeder system
to Seoul to participate in the security envelope.
Barcelona – 1992
The makeup of the Barcelona Organizing Committee (COOB’92)
reflected the active participation of the Spanish Government in
the planning and operation of the 1992 Games. COOB’92 was
composed of representatives from Spain’s Olympic Committee,
Barcelona City Council, Generalitat of Catalonia and the Spanish
Government. The mayor of Barcelona was the president of COOB’92.
COOB’92 formed a security department to identify and resolve
organizing committee security issues during the planning phase
to develop COOB’92’s portion of the Master Security
Plan and to implement COOB’92 security responsibilities
during the Games.
Spain constituted the Higher Commission for Olympic Security in
June, 1987 with the Secretary of State for Security as chairman
and charged with the responsibility of directing, planning, preparing
and implementing security operations. In 1988 a security model
was adopted that integrated public and private resources under
the authority of the Commission for Olympic Security and integrated
the efforts of the National Police, the Guardia Civil, the Mossos
d’Esquadra (Catalan Police), the Barcelona City Police,
other local police forces, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
The administrative instrument was the Olympic Security Master
Plan which consisted of 86 security project areas from national
issues, such as intelligence, frontier security and control of
territorial waters to Games specific issues, such as Olympic village
security, accreditation and information security. Security and
emergency response capabilities to address specific risks, such
as power supply, water supply, telecommunications, dangerous materials,
transportation systems were assigned to the Catelonian government
and Department of Public Safety.
Due to the locations of the venues, training sites, athletes’ village
and official hotels, the National Police had responsibility for
about 80% of the Olympic facilities security. The Guardia Civil
had jurisdiction at the airports, the port of Barcelona, four
venues and essential public services such as water, fuel and electric
supplies, broadcast stations, telephone relay points and transportation
Mossos d’Esquadra protected two competition venues and took
part in crime prevention activities.
Barcelona City Police took charge of traffic and street public
The Army supported the Guardia Civil and COOB’92. The Air
Force provided protection of the air space and the Navy provided
security of water competition areas and territorial waters.
One aspect of the Barcelona Games was the use of cruise ships
in the port for housing of guests of the corporate sponsors. Extensive
sea side as well as port side security measures were taken to protect
the 15 large ships.
Approximately 25,000 law enforcement personnel and numerous support
personnel were committed to security of the Barcelona Games.
Atlanta – 1996
The Olympic Games trended toward being larger and more complex
each four years. The Atlanta organizing committee promoted their
Games as being larger than Los Angeles and Barcelona combined.
However, Atlanta had far fewer law enforcement assets than either
Los Angeles or Barcelona.
Because of the similarity of local government structures in the
U.S. in 1993, Atlanta adopted the Los Angeles Olympic Security
planning model, and the security planning topics were virtually
the same. A concern from the beginning was the shortfall between
the generally agreed number of security personnel needed for Games
the size of Atlanta (approximately 30,000) and the number calculated
to be available (approximately 8,000). Ultimately a combination
of state, local, federal, military, private security and volunteers
were used to staff the security functions.
Other public safety services were part of security operations
which included expansion of trauma capabilities at local hospitals,
coordination with area hospitals, coordination with public health
services and the American Red Cross. The security plan included
the integration of law enforcement, medical, mass care, shelter,
fire and emergency management into a consolidated response capability.
This planning was a critical factor in the organized response to
the pipe bomb that was detonated in Centennial Park, killing one
person and injuring approximately 110.
Many federal assets were temporarily located in Atlanta for the
Games, including capabilities to respond to conventional explosives,
chemical or biological threats and hostage situations.
The Olympic Movement tries to contribute to a peaceful better
world through sport and to generate mutual understanding through
a spirit of friendship and fair play. As our world becomes more
complex, the challenges faced by security forces that have the
responsibility to preserve an environment that allows participants
and spectators alike to gather at the Olympic Games in the spirit
of the Games, continue to escalate.
When Los Angeles hosted the 1932 Olympic Games security consisted
of police motorcycle officers to direct traffic near the stadium
and a horseback officer to patrol around the athletes’ housing.
Athens estimates its Olympic Games security costs will be $800
million, plus the support of security forces from several other
countries. Security forces must prepare to prevent or respond
to threats unimagined to previous Games.