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No Obama, less stress for Games security - Metro US

No Obama, less stress for Games security

The head of the 15,000-person strong Olympic security force is breathing a sigh of relief after Tuesday’s announcement that U.S. President Barack Obama is not heading to Vancouver for the 2010 Games.

RCMP Assistant Comm. Bud Mercer said guarding the U.S. president would have created a “security challenge” for the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit (ISU).

“It’s a large task, but it’s not an insurmountable task,” said Mercer, during a press briefing yesterday. “It’s business as usual for our police force and our partners.

“It certainly — I won’t lie to you — would have made things more complex, but we would have done it.”

On Tuesday, the White House announced that Vice-President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, would lead the U.S. delegation to the opening ceremonies on Feb. 12.

Mercer, however, would not rule out the possibility that Obama might appear: “You can never confirm that,” he said. “Right now I have no information that he is coming.”

Mercer said about 40 internationally protected people will require security escorts during the Games, but declined to identify them.

“There is a whole list of other IPPs who are coming that are going to make life interesting.”

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