Cyber terrorism, other new threats among concerns for U.K. officials
All Olympic organizers since Munich have hired security consultants like the Bavarian
"Munich changed forever the concept of security for the Olympics," says Power, who in 1972 watched the Black September attacks play out from London, where he was a young police officer. "But the threat landscape is totally different today."
One exercise Power led for the ODA involved simulating a response to an event taking place the day the Olympic torch arrives in The City, London's financial center, if a protest were to turn nasty and morph into a potential act of terror. Another exercise, in the Olympic Park, was to guard against the catastrophic spread of disease. Here are some other newfangled threats that organizers will guard against:
"For example, a train might be toppled off the DLR [Docklands Light Railway] and hit a petrol tanker underneath," says Power. "There's a fire, and transport is affected. And down in Dorset [site of the sailing venue], terrorists take hostages and block the M3 [motorway]. It's the threat of events not following a pattern."
Not all threats are new. Because this is England, the Irish Republican Army remains a concern.
"There are still hardliners upset that [M.P. for Northern Ireland and former Republican firebrand] Martin McGuinness shook hands with the Queen," Power says.
Her Majesty's Government has taken extraordinary steps to manage the security environment. Since the torch relay began in late May, a special entity called the Cabinet Olympic Committee has met regularly, to assess the latest "CRIP," or "common recognized information picture." The CRIP is analyzed in light of the "Concept of Operations," or ConOps.
"The ConOps is written as a military document," says Power. "It covers the entire Games, all the venues and the gaps in between. It's probably the most complex command document I've seen in 40 years of doing this.
"The whole process is bureaucratic, because it almost has to be. It would probably work very well in peacetime. Frankly, my fear is that it might not work as well in war."
But Power's biggest fear is complacency.
"It's that attitude of, 'We can trust all these soldiers.' In fact, we all have to look after one another. Throughout modern history, think about the first responders. They're never the professional services. They're bystanders or fellow passengers who for the first half hour -- and sometimes longer -- keep people alive."