Italy bans U.S. security guards from Winter Games
Mario Pescante, the Italian Commissioner for the Turin Olympics, announced that Italy would handle all aspects of Olympic security, precluding any team from bringing its own security personnel. Prior to the Athens Olympics, Greek officials issued a similar announcement: team security personnel would be forbidden from carrying firearms. But, many Olympic teams traveled to Athens with their own security. The Greek government accepted assistance from other nations. They quickly learned that, with the threat of terrorist attacks at any Olympics, the assistance of other nations is required to make the Games safe. There is no place for government ego or posturing when so much is at stake. After the September 5, 1972 attack by Black September at the Munich Olympics, the need to secure all Olympic venues and teams became a larger security concern. Eric Robert Rudolph , the recently sentenced Atlanta Olympics bomber (see this WAR Report), highlighted the need to secure all venues associated with the Olympics. Rudolph bombed Centennial Park, a non-Olympic venue that was hosting an outdoor musical event that evening, killing Alice Hawthorne and wounding scores . With only seven months until the Turin Winter Olympics, planning for the Games continues, and much needs to be done. Prior to the 2004 Games, Greek government officials stated that they could handle the security themselves. But, the Olympic Games are a huge endeavor that requires the coordination and assistance of many ? if not all — of the participating nations. Also to consider are the threats that have been made against Italy and Prime Minister Berlusconi for his role in Iraq . One such threat, attributed to the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades , states: ?we will shake the cities of Europe and will start with you Berlusconi, and we will make it bloody until you return to the correct path.? During the 2004 Games, the United States participated as part of a seven-nation coordination committee that identified potential areas of support and security for Greece. Over US$35 million in security training, assistance, and support was provided to the Greek government. With this assistance, the 2004 Games in Athens went off without terrorist incident. At the end of the Games, a report of lessons learned was drafted and provided to US personnel who are preparing to support the Turin Games. Hopefully, the Italian government reviews these lessons and learns that a multi-national approach to security and training is the only way to ensure that the Games in Turin from February 10-26, 2006 will be noted for the athletic competition and not for terrorist incidents. A presentation on the security system for the Games in Italy by Police Superintendent Dr. Roberto Massucci, Italy Ministry of Interior, National Police Department, Office of Public Order, is available by request to Premium Content clients only.