IOC to review Salt Lake City security in wake of terror attacks

Monday, September 17th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) _ Saying ``everything has changed'' since the devastating terror attacks in the United States, international Olympics officials are meeting this week to review security for the 2002 Winter Games.

``We will reassess and re-evaluate everything. When it comes to security, everything has changed since Tuesday,'' IOC President Jacques Rogge said. The three-day review is to begin Tuesday.

The Winter Games will go ahead as scheduled Feb. 8-24, IOC and Salt Lake City officials say _ but with heightened security. Utah officials said the games may have a more militarized look, with armed soldiers possibly helping patrol streets as Air Force jets guard the skies.

On Monday, Rogge asked the IOC's legal commission to study the Olympic body's liability in the event of terrorist strikes in Salt Lake City.

``We are examining under what circumstances could the IOC be responsible if something happens, what are the measures we have to take to avoid risks,'' IOC board member Marc Hodler said.

Hodler is also head of the IOC panel that oversees the Salt Lake Games. He is scheduled to travel to Salt Lake in late October to inspect the latest preparations.

``First of all, we have to know where the risks come from, how (the terrorists) are organized, what could be the nature of the risks and what measures can be taken against the risks,'' Hodler said in an interview. ``That's a very complex problem. Nobody even thought of using civil planes as bombs. They may have other things in mind.''

Rogge said security has always been the IOC's top priority since the terrorist attack at the 1972 Munich Games that claimed the lives of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches. One person was killed and more than 100 injured when a pipe bomb exploded during the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Salt Lake Organizing Committee chief Mitt Romney was in Washington lobbying Congress for additional security funding when the terrorists struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11.

Since then, federal lawmakers have acted swiftly to help bolster the $200 million Salt Lake security plan. A $40 billion package approved Thursday by the Senate includes another $12.7 million for the Olympics.

Romney will present details of revised security plans when he reports to the IOC board by video conference Wednesday.

``There are myriad targets in civilizations worldwide,'' Romney told his Salt Lake staff. ``We surely recognize that the Olympics have been targeted in the past, at Munich and Atlanta, and we have long recognized the need to have the Olympics entirely secure.''

Armed soldiers may help patrol the streets but the beefed-up security shouldn't be excessive, Romney said. ``I don't think this place is going to be an armed camp,'' he said.

The IOC may also review security plans for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. Security had already been a major concern because of the activities of the domestic terror group November 17, which has killed 22 people since 1975.

This week's regularly scheduled IOC gathering is the first full executive board meeting chaired by Rogge, who was elected in Moscow on July 16 to succeed Juan Antonio Samaranch as president.

For the first time in years, the panel does not include the prominent figures of Canada's Dick Pound, South Korea's Kim Un-yong and Anita DeFrantz of the United States. All three senior members were defeated in elections and their terms on the board have expired.