Science Applications International Corp., the prime contractor for the computerized security system at the Olympics, is using a system developed by an Israeli firm to track more than 2,500 police and law enforcement vehicles deployed in Athens, Greece.
Officials can track every vehicle marked by the system by viewing its location on a laptop computer or large screen at more than 100 command centers, which feed into the central command post.
"Greek authorities wanted the ability to determine where their vehicles were for response purposes in case of incidents," said David Tubbs, a project director at SAIC, in a telephone interview from Athens Aug. 24.
Tubbs said he did not know if the marked vehicles were being used to protect dignitaries at the games. "That is up to the government," he said. "It's also up to the organizing committee. We don't tell them how to use it; we just give them the capability."
The vehicle identifier is provided by subcontractor Cellocator, an Israeli company that specializes in vehicle security, said John Gauss, a senior vice president at SAIC. The technology in the vehicle uses the Global Positioning System to send information via a preferred communications network to a control center.
Much of the technology at the Olympics is not new. Tubbs, a former FBI agent who worked at the Olympics in Salt Lake City in 1992 and was an FBI observer at the games in Atlanta in 1996, said the tracking system had been used in previous games. "The Olympics is not something [where] you want to test out new technology," he said.
Beginning the week of Sept. 6, American Airlines' frequent fliers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport will be able to join the Transportation Security Administration's pilot test of the Registered Traveler program.
Administered by EDS, the program is the last of five demonstrations to test iris scans and digital fingerprints as a way to match travelers with their documentation. Officials will gauge the program's speed, flexibility and reliability.
Rather than using smart cards to hold biometric identifiers, this program will use a secure hard drive, which airport officials can extract from the kiosk and store every night, EDS spokesman Bill Ritz said.
The test will occur at the airport lawmakers — who appropriate funds to such programs — use to commute to and from their home districts.
Golf for a cause
The Industry Advisory Council partners program raised $34,000 for injured soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Aug. 20 during a golf tournament. The money will go toward events for Ward 57, where injured U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq are treated.
The proceeds will support a program that offers recuperating soldiers a weekly night out with their families and a steak dinner at Fran O'Brien's Stadium Steak House. The restaurant's owners, volunteers from the Department of Veterans Affairs and a group of Vietnam veterans coordinate the weekly events.
More than 150 golfers played at the event, and many others made contributions, said Kim Shackleford of the Ambit Group, one of the organizers.
"It was a really great turnout," she said. "It was a wonderful experience. We had such an outpouring from the community."
The Eastern Amputee Golf Association, a group that specializes in helping amputees play golf to enhance their quality of life, led clinics for soldiers attending the tournament.
Homeland Security Department officials are sorting through no-fly lists to ensure that innocent travelers, including Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), do not accidentally appear on the lists. Now they must clear the name of one of their own.
Jim Williams, director of the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program, was mistakenly placed on the no-fly list, said US-VISIT spokeswoman Anna Hinken. Williams is not on the list, she said, but he signed up to participate in the Registered Traveler pilot program. n
Got a tip? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.