Russia spent over $50 billion on the recent Winter Olympics held in southern Russia. One of the biggest concerns was security, as several Russia based Islamic terrorist organizations had openly proclaimed their intention to attack the Olympics. While Russia had plenty of security troops to deploy their security experts also stressed the need for superior communications and real-time intelligence at the Olympic site. Casting about for a system that could provide this they settled on an Israeli firm that had a system that had already been “combat proven” in Israel dealing with over a decade of heavy threat from Palestinian terrorists. The Israeli system has also been deployed for other high security events, like the American Superbowl that took place just before the Winter Olympics opened.
The Israeli system was bought and installed and successfully provided 24/7 monitoring and access to surveillance video, security personnel radio messages, sensors (like fences rigged to alert operators if touched or tampered with) and electronic access control systems. The Israelis also installed a C4I (command, control, communications, computers and intelligence) operations center from which senior Russian security officials could monitor the entire Olympics complex round the clock and in real time.
The computer software running the system gave operators and supervisors instant access to suspicious events and the ability to quickly deploy more security personnel where needed. There were over 1,400 video cameras involved and even more electronic access points installed in the sites where the Olympics were taking place as well as there the athletes and foreign guests were housed. Over a thousand security vehicles or individuals could be monitored and quickly reached to obtain more information or issue orders to move or intervene. During the Olympics most of the alerts were benign; for things like overcrowding, unattended luggage or people who seemed lost or suspicious. If nothing else the Israeli system gave the Russian security officials a sense of being in touch with the security surrounding the Olympics and the ability to quickly act against any potential threat.