Every piece of information under scrutiny

The authorities view the preparations being made on the basis of exercises and the development of threat scenarios in view of the Olympics as one of the factors contributing to a calm appraisal of the situation with regard to international terrorism, which, after the attacks in Istanbul, appears to be knocking on Europe’s door. Officials told Kathimerini that Greece has an advantage over other countries precisely because of the preparations ahead of the Olympics against asymmetrical threats considered to be one of the main characteristics of the 21st century. Although there has as yet been no link made between Greece and the terrorist attacks in Istanbul, nor any intelligence regarding the possibility of a similar strike in Greece, the security authorities are treating the situation on the basis of «absolute security,» a basic principle of which is not to underestimate any threat and to explore every piece of intelligence, no matter how bizarre. Greek police officials are saying that the critical time for dealing with a blind terrorist act is before it happens. If a vehicle has been booby-trapped, the explosion will happen and it is of secondary importance whether it has actually struck its target. The Greek security authorities are putting particular emphasis on collecting intelligence. The National Intelligence Service (EYP) has been working intensively with similar services in other countries within an international network for the more efficient collection and analysis of intelligence. Foreigners, buildings The authorities have for some time been mapping out Athens’s foreign communities, collecting information on new arrivals of illegal immigrants and monitoring their movements, as well as investigating cases of forged IDs. They are also having a closer look at a number of seemingly petty occurrences, such as thefts, car rentals, the theft or sale of weapons and, in general, any act that could be interpreted as being more than it seems. Security measures for buildings and sporting venues that could prove to be potential targets is the second level of mobilization. A blind terrorist attack would be hard to commit because of the high degree of protection. Yet for people to feel safe, these measures are important. After the attacks in Istanbul, security measures have been stepped up around foreign embassies and foreign-owned businesses as well as at ports and airports around the country.