The United States will provide Greece with radiation detection equipment to boost defenses against potential terrorist threats to the Olympics such as a dirty bomb, authorities said yesterday.
The devices will be presented today by U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham and installed at airports and ports, U.S. and Greek officials said. Abraham also plans to tour Athens' international airport, where similar U.S. equipment already is being used.
Plans to safeguard the event are the most expensive in Olympic history, costing more than $1.2 billion -- four times higher than Sydney, Australia's security budget four years ago.
The lone U.S. military base in Greece -- Souda Bay on the island of Crete -- also has stockpiles of emergency medical equipment in case of biochemical or radiation attacks.
Greece is receiving assistance and advice from a seven-member advisory group of nations, including the United States, Britain and Israel.
Measures planned in Athens include the deployment of more than 70,000 police and soldiers, more than 1,400 security cameras and aerial surveillance by helicopters, a blimp and AWACS aircraft. A no-fly zone will be imposed around Olympic venues and other sites.
During the Olympics, thousands of dignitaries and others will stay aboard cruise ships in the busy port of Piraeus south of Athens.
But the chief organizer for the games warned yesterday that comments about security shortfalls could encourage terrorists to strike.
"I am concerned that we send a consistent message to those who wish us ill," Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said.
"Telling them incorrectly that there are holes in Athens security procedures and our preparations can be circumvented -- when all of our preparations are designed to achieve the opposite -- is bad security strategy," she said.
Good Words for Once
Jacques Rogge credited the IOC's strong relationship with the head of the Athens organizers for getting Greece ready for the Olympics.
The IOC president thanked Angelopoulos-Daskalaki for "our formidable partnership" and her ability to lead in "such an inspiring and dynamic way."
Angelopoulos-Daskalaki was honored by the International Olympic Academy for overcoming serious delays in Athens' preparations.
Rogge made the comments during a ceremony near the ancient Acropolis. The event marks the start of an annual sports seminar hosted by the academy at Ancient Olympia.