Several Israeli firms providing security at Olympics

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

ATHENS Several Israeli firms have been contracted to provide a range of security services to the Olympic Games later this month.

Industry sources said some of the Israeli firms have been hired to provide security consulting for the Olympic Games, scheduled to begin on Aug. 13. Other firms have been contracted to provide security systems or protect delegations, Middle East Newsline reported.

An Israeli company, Etna, owned by former Mossad director Shabtai Shavit, who headed Israel's spy agency from 1989 to 1996, was awarded a contract to protect the NBC television presence at the Olympic Games. This included security consulting and providing guards to protect NBC facilities and crews.

"This is one of the biggest contracts won by an Israeli firm," the industry source said. "NBC has invested a huge amount of money and is very aware of the terrorist threat."

[On Sunday, NATO imposed restrictions around Athens as Olympic delegations arrived in the Greek capital. Greece has deployed PAC-3 missiles, airborne early-warning systems and 70,000 troops in the $1.2 billion security effort.]

Israel has been a member of a seven-nation security advisory committee on the Olympic Games. Former Israeli security chiefs have been selected to head many of the firms that competed for Olympic contracts.

Israel's Controp has sold its Cedar-M electro-optical observation system to help ensure security at the Olympic Games. The Cedar-M was said to provide day and night protection to Greek ports and harbors.

"The Israelis aren't the first in security at the Olympics, but they're clearly in the top four," an industry source said.

Greek officials said Israeli security guards would be allowed to wield firearms under strict limitations. The United States was also given permission to bring armed guards.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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