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No major Super Bowl threats, says Homeland Security

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, February 1, 2012 16:40 EDT
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INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana — No major threats have been made against Sunday’s Super Bowl 46, US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday even as authorities noted record safety technology advances.

“We’re probably the most technologically protected Super Bowl we have ever had,” said Frank Straub, director of public safety for Indianapolis, where the New England Patriots and New York Giants will decide the NFL crown on Sunday.

Napolitano, overseeing her third Super Bowl in her homeland security post, said security personnel will try to minimize the intrusions of metal detectors and pat-down searches on spectators but safety remains the top priority.

“We have no specific or credible threats against Super Bowl 46,” Napolitano said. “We’re really moving forward in terms of what we can check for and how we check and with as little hassle on people as we can impose.

“That keeps evolving, but so do the threats that are posed.”

Camera technology, 3D imaging, tracking of public health issues and communication integration between law-enforcement agencies are among the more advanced devices being utilized to safeguard players and spectators this week.

There were some technology issues last weekend that caused safety concerns, including a software issue that garbled radio transmissions and a three-hour outage of the main video wall at the command center.

“Those glitches have all been corrected,” Straub said. “Since Sunday we have had no communication issues.”

The Occupy Super Bowl movement, aimed at raising attention on the plight of the jobless and inequities of the growing gap between rich and poor in America, plans a game-day protest but it is not seen as a major security threat.

“We’re certainly aware of the movement,” NFL chief security officer Jeffrey Miller said. “We don’t believe there is any great threat from the group.

“All indications are the group just plans to express its right to free speech and we certainly support that.”

The NFL also brought back the See and Say initiatve started at last year’s Super Bowl, asking the public to report suspicious activities or incidents. Last year there were 110 text messages during the game about several issues.

“We simply ask the American people to be vigilant and report suspicious activity,” Napolitano said. “If you see something that’s dangerous, please say something to law-enforcement officials.

“Time and time again, members of the public are some of the best protectors.”

Federal, state and local security officials have done threat-level assessments on NFL hospitality and entertainment areas as well as areas where the teams will stay, practice and play, all designed to prevent safety risks.

“These assessments help us identify issues and solutions,” Napolitano said. “The NFL and local authorities do a great job every year to ensure the Super Bowl is safe and it’s fun.”

Flight restrictions will keep airplanes from entering the space around the stadium while a lengthy list of items banned from the stadium includes weapons, horns, coolers, camcorders, backpacks and containers of any sort.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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