Are the Olympics too secure?

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10/09/2009

With 126 days until the Olympic Games in Vancouver, B.C. a member of the International Olympic Committee has raised concerns about the "unnecessary" level of security being planned for the Vancouver 2010 Games, according to this article.

But with memories of the high security at Beijing fresh on his mind, Israeli IOC member Alex Gilady said he's worried Vancouver's security plan, with its extensive use of metal detectors, is too much.

In an article in the Vancouver Sun, the Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day said that security will be “very intense,” but it won't turn Vancouver into an armed fortress.

“It's not going to be the kind of situation where tourists are going to be nervous because there are armaments on every corner,” he said. “But I can tell you the security will be very good and very intense but will be done in a way that is user-friendly.”

Security was estimated to cost between $400 million and $1 billion, despite original figures that it would cost a mere $175 million.  Day said a contributing factor for the difference is securing airspace.

“Security costs money. And when you talk about the aviation security alone monitoring the airspace, you can get an idea of the kind of dollars we are talking about,” the minister said.

The Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit and Joint Task Force is preparing for its third pre-game security exercise, scheduled for Oct. 19-23, according to this article.

"That's probably our biggest exercise internally, that's where we will have our commanders in place, there will be no actors in the chairs," said V2010 ISU chief Bud Mercer. "To do that testing there will be a lot of actual play outside on the water, in the air. It's to test the interaction and communication between the key decision makers."

Exercise Gold, the biggest of three privy council-mandated Olympic security rehearsals, is scheduled for Nov. 2-6. So, there's lots of security excitement to look forward to. And really, is there such thing as too much security?