Canada counter-terror force to help with Olympics

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Troops from the Canadian army’s elite Joint Task Force 2 counter-terrorist unit will be assigned to help provide security at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, a senior military official said on Monday.

Vice-Admiral Dean McFadden’s statement came as something of a surprise. The military does not usually comment on the deployment of the JTF2, which is the most important part of its so-called Special Operations Forces.

Asked by Parliament’s defense committee whether JTF2 members would be at the Games, McFadden replied: “Special Operations Forces will be assigned to support the operation of the Vancouver Olympics.”

Some of the troops will back the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who are responsible for overall security, while others will be placed on standby, he said, but declined to specify how many would be involved.

The Canadian government says it plans to spend about C$900 million ($700 million) for security for the 2010 Games, including C$212 million for the military.

Police security planners say the threat level for the Games in February 2010 is considered low, but the budget and security plans assume a medium threat level.

In addition to the troops, protection for the Olympics will be provided by 7,000 police officers from around the country and 4,000 private security personnel.

($1=$1.29 Canadian)

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Peter Galloway