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Security tightens for 1996 Olympics

Munich tragedy

November 3, 1995
Web posted at: 2:35 p.m. EST

From Correspondent Martin Hill

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- As planners prepare for next year's Olympics in Atlanta, a 23-year-old memory still haunts them: the terrorist attack on the 1972 Games in Munich, Germany, where 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were killed. The recent bombing in Oklahoma City has further driven home the threat of domestic -- not just international --terrorism.

security device

Wanting no such repeat, Atlanta Olympic organizers and federal law enforcement officials are leaving nothing to chance. The FBI and CIA have promised a senate committee that they will band together for the occasion; planners for the Centennial Games are investing a lot of faith -- and money -- in state-of-the-art surveillance and identification equipment.

And, the city of Atlanta recently unveiled an integrated communications system that aims to keep everyone -- local, state and federal authorities -- on the same wavelength. There have even been simulated incidents as part of security preparations including a hostage situation in a school bus, eerily similar to Thursday's bus-hijacking in Miami (courtesy WSVN - 1.1M QuickTime movie).

"We have always planned for a worst-case scenario, and terrorism is a part of that."

-- Bob Lang, director of security at Georgia Tech

Director of Olympic security Bill Rathburn said the 1996 Games will have the most sophisticated security electronics in the event's history. In fact, a popular catchphrase claims Atlanta will be the safest place on earth next summer.

But despite the gadgets and cameras, there is still some skepticism. Terrorism expert Robert Kupperman said he does not anticipate a trouble-free Olympics. "I am confident we will not stop terrorism," he said. "But we are behaving as responsibly, as intelligently and as forcefully as we can in a relatively free society."

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