White House Commits to Security Increase for Olympics


Washington, D.C., Oct. 22, 2001 (AP by Robert Gehrke)–The White House on Thursday committed to spending $24.5 million on additional security for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The availability of the new money, which will come from a $40 billion anti-terrorism package Congress approved the week after the terrorist attacks, was announced in a letter Thursday to Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah.

“The president is grateful for your efforts to bring this matter to his attention and wants to ensure you of his continued support for the Salt Lake Olympic Games,” wrote Mitch Daniels, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. “We all pledge our support for a safe and successful Olympic celebration.”

The $24.5 million is in addition to $200 million the federal government has spent on security. The state of Utah and the Salt Lake Organizing Committee each budgeted $35 million for security.

Organizers have said the heightened security will add as much as $40 million in expenses for the Feb. 8-24 games.

The federal government spent $98 million on the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

The Justice Department will administer a $4.5 million grant for additional security equipment, while the Defense Department will receive $20 million for additional military personnel to provide Olympic security.

The additional money will go to expanding the restricted airspace over Olympic venues; add law enforcement personnel at venues, including plain-clothes federal agents; fence in some areas; install more metal detectors and surveillance equipment; and place troops at some buildings, such as food warehouses.