18 December 2003

Jet crash on stadium was Olympics nightmare | Sydney Morning Herald, 20 Sep 2001

The claim that no-one imagined a hijacked jet being used as a weapon is belied by planning for precisely that eventuality at the Sydney Olympics. The Sydney Morning Herald reported (charge applies) on 20 September 2001:

A fully loaded, fuelled airliner crashing into the opening ceremony before a worldwide television audience at the Sydney Olympics was one of the greatest security fears for the Games, the Olympic Security Commander, former chief superintendent Paul McKinnon, says.

Mr McKinnon said that Osama bin Laden had been the number one threat.

The combined security forces had also prepared for marine hijackings or a hijacked plane smashing into the central business district.

Mr McKinnon said there was a constant aviation security overlay during the Games if a hijacked or wayward plane strayed into restricted airspace.

'We did not have the authority to shoot at it, but the plan was to run something in its path and we had a collection of aircraft in the sky at any time ready for that.'

The alternative argument would be that the intelligence resources available to the government of the United States are less than those available to the state of New South Wales. Now I like my state a lot, but I'm not sure I'd take my loyalty to NSW that far.

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