World holds its breath as Olympics open in Rio de Janeiro

The Olympics open today and a lot has been done - from security to doping scandals - to ensure that the games are fun, fair and safe.


WASHINGTON,  Aug. 5, 2016 – In addition to continuing health concerns — from Zika to polluted water showing high bacterial counts – NBC reports that the Brazilian government is working with the U.S. to provide security for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, saying that “U.S. intelligence has assigned more than 1,000 spies to Olympic security as part of a highly classified effort to protect the Rio 2016 Summer Games and American athletes and staff.”

“U.S. intelligence agencies are working closely with Brazilian intelligence officials to support their efforts to identify and disrupt potential threats to the Olympic Games in Rio,” said Richard Kolko, a spokesman for National Intelligence director James Clapper.

Security efforts can be seen on the ground, in the air and in the sea in addition to the covert security provided by 17 U.S. intelligence agencies. Security measures include human intelligence, spy satellites, electronic eavesdropping, and cyber and social media monitoring.

News agencies’ review of classified reports on U.S. intelligence efforts report senior military officials state that “more than a dozen highly trained Navy and Marine Corps commandos from the U.S. Special Operations Command are in Brazil, working with the Brazilian Federal Police and the Brazilian Navy.”

For the 2016 games, more than 10,000 athletes have been vetted in addition to the over 35,000 security and police personnel. Analysts are also monitoring computer networks and social media.

Reports are that in 2015 the U.S. employed a multi-agency “Olympic Watch” that included efforts by the CIA, the NSA, the Secret Service and the FBI. In addition, the National Reconnaissance Office—responsible for spy satellites—and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency  have been active insuring Olympic security for the athletes and fans.

In other Olympic news, Russia has been plagued by challenges to their athletes suspected of or found liable for doping to increase their performance. As a result of investigations, 271 Russian athletes out of the 389 originally named are now eligible to compete according to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had even gone further, earlier recommending the banning of all Russian athletes after a state-sponsored doping scandal.

“The Russian team may have experienced the toughest checks of the Olympics, because they had to go through multiple tests,” said Alexander Zhukov, Russia’s Olympic Committee president. “On top of all that, Russian athletes are going through additional testing which is taking place at the Olympic Village. So, as of now, the Russian team is probably the cleanest in Rio.”

Zhukov also said that it is a “flagrant injustice” that some Russian athletes were banned.

Russian Athletic team graph courtesy of BBC
Russian Athletic team graph courtesy of BBC and Sports governing bodies reports on how Rio is getting ready for this summer’s biggest party.

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