Attack on mass transit seen as top Super Bowl security risk

Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:54pm EST
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By Scott Malone

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bomb attacks of the kind that tore through mass transit sites in Russia ahead of the upcoming Sochi Olympics are a top concern of security officials preparing for Sunday's Super Bowl, the head of the New Jersey State Police said on Wednesday.

While law enforcement officials said they were not aware of any specific threats targeting the February 2 National Football League championship in East Rutherford, New Jersey, attacks like those that killed 34 people in two days in Russia late last year are their biggest worry.

"Of particular concern to us is what was going on overseas in Volgograd in regard to the Sochi Olympics. As you know both of those bombings were targeting mass transit," Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, told reporters. "That is a concern with the mass transit; we've prepared ourselves for it."

Officials have sharply limited parking at MetLife Stadium, where Sunday's game will be played, and expect as many as 30,000 people to arrive by bus or rail. Security screening will start at train stations, where fans will not be able to board stadium-bound trains or buses without tickets to the game, officials said.

New York Police Department Commissioner William Bratton said that while authorities were focused on a mass transit type of attack, they were not aware of any specific plans to target the game or surrounding events.

"We are keeping an eye on activities around the world, but certainly at this time there are no threats directed at this event that we're aware of," Bratton said.

The stadium is located about 10 miles west of New York City, the site of the September 11, 2001, attacks. It has been locked down all week, and authorities are scanning all vehicles that go in, a practice that will continue on game day, officials said.

Bratton noted that New York police were using extensive intelligence-gathering operations developed since the World Trade Center attack to watch for possible threats.   Continued...

A worker looks at his phone in front of a banner on Broadway as preparations continue for Super Bowl XLVIII in New York January 28, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson