NEWS

New Games security headache

Fears that the hi-tech backbone of Greece’s Olympic security umbrella will not be up to specifications have made senior Athens 2004 organizing committee security officials refuse to take delivery of the multi-billion-euro system, sources told Kathimerini. Just 38 days before the Games opening ceremony, security officials have advised the government that the C4I system, provided by a consortium led by US Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), is not satisfactory. The government – which on Saturday denied press claims that the C4I was behind schedule – is now thinking of accepting the surveillance and coordination equipment without officially taking delivery of it, and thus circumventing security officials’ misgivings, although this could create more problems than it solves. The C4I system is the main element of Greece’s one-billion-euro security umbrella. The entire project has been plagued by long delays in awarding the contract and setting up the system, and has been further set back by tardy completion of several Olympic venues where surveillance and other equipment is to be installed. A few days ago, government officials were informed that the security system at the Olympic Village, where most of the athletes will stay, will not be functioning before July 30 due to electricity supply problems. Furthermore, government officials and SAIC representatives are understood to be experiencing difficulties in agreeing on how to set up the system in the port of Piraeus, where thousands of officials and visitors are to stay on cruise ships during the Games. Meanwhile, under an amendment tabled in Parliament yesterday, the day of the Games opening ceremony, August 13, is to be declared a public holiday.1