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Olympic security goes into overdrive

Shift those hurdles, we need to make room for the missile silos. Olympic security for London 2012 ratcheted up several paranoia levels when American officials expressed concern at the precautions in place for next summer's games.

Initial estimates by the London authorities had suggested that 10,000 security guards would be required for the Olympics. In line with their habit of underestimating every budget, this figure has now been rethought, and scaled up to 21,000. So they were half right.

Such was the concern about lack of security provision for Britain’s largest ever sporting event that questions were raised in the House. The defence secretary Philip Hammond confirmed that ground-to-air missiles could be deployed in the event of a threat to the Games.

He didn’t detail the exact circumstances in which this response might be required. "I can assure you that all necessary measures to ensure the security and safety of the London Olympic Games will be taken," he said. "This includes, if the advice of the military is that it is required, appropriate ground-to-air defences."

The Americans are preparing for every eventuality. The US team has already made plans to send up to 1000 of its own security agents to England, including 500 FBI officers. It is expected that the men in black will be carrying weapons.

Londoners, already wary of some of the special measures that will operate in the capital next summer, will take this latest news as confirming suspicions that the Olympic Games make their own rules, overriding the laws of the host nation.

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