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Newz Forum: OLYMPICS: Security exercises begin

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posted on Jun, 25 2004 @ 02:54 PM
ATHENS, Greece (AP) - An eight-nation exercise to test security for the Athens Olympics began Friday, and the Greek government wants to extend surveillance powers to screen phone calls.

The simulated exercise will plan responses to a deadly array of potential problems, from terrorist attacks to forest fires, Greek law enforcement officials said.

The 200 participating officials include experts from members of the seven-nation advisory group assisting Athens with security, including the United States.

Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis met with Fran Townsend, White House counterterrorism adviser, and Francis X. Taylor, head of the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

Also attending were Cofer Black, head of the State Department's counterterrorism office, and Pavlos Apostolidis, Greek National Intelligence Service director, the public order ministry said.

Athens is spending more than $1.2 billion on Olympic security. It will deploy 70,000 police and soldiers and receive help from NATO.

The government wants to better screen cell and fixed-line phone calls. In addition, it submitted draft legislation to parliament calling for the creation of a hot line during the games for the public to report suspicious activity.

Also Friday, Athens organizers said they had successfully carried out an exercise to contain a tanker oil spill at the Olympic sailing center near Athens.


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