FORT LAUDERDALE – After touring a rain-soaked Sun’Life Stadium, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet’Napolitano said Monday that’preparations are in place to thwart any terrorist threat or safety’problem at the Super Bowl.
‘We are doing everything we can think of in preparation to make sure it is a great event,’ Napolitano told reporters. ‘I’m here today to see the operation myself. I thought it was important to get down here.’
Milt Ahlerich, the NFL’s vice’president for security, said Napolitano’s tour of the stadium in nearby Miami Gardens was the first time a Homeland Security secretary had visited a Super Bowl site before game day.
About 1,000 federal, state and local law enforcement and security personnel are’working Sunday’s game and’events leading up to it, said James Loftus, director of the Miami-Dade Police Department.
Even though the FBI reports no credible threat against the Super Bowl, al-Qaida and other terror groups have frequently expressed interest in attacking a major U.S. sporting event.
‘Rest assured, we’re going to look out for you,’ Loftus said of what fans attending the game can expect. ‘We do this stuff week in and week out, and we’re’good at it.’
The nerve center for security is the FBI-run Joint Operations Center, which includes representatives from 64 agencies at all levels of government, said John V. Gillies, agent in charge of the FBI’s Miami field office. He said preparations have included intensive training and tabletop exercises involving various threat scenarios.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will have its battalion of bomb-detecting dogs on hand, many of them’veterans of the Iraq and’Afghanistan wars, said Hugo Barrera, chief of ATF’s Miami office. He said the dogs are able to find more than 19,000 separate explosives components.
Fans themselves can also play a role by reporting any suspicious activity or unattended bags, Ahlerich said.’
Other preparations include’temporary flight restrictions and a 100-yard security perimeter around the stadium on game’day. Fans attending the game’face a long list of prohibited’items, including long-lens’cameras, camcorders, backpacks,’noisemakers, coolers and camera tripods.