Report: Greece Not Ready for Bioterror Attack During 2004 Olympics

Greek security forces are not ready to deal with the mass casualties that a chemical or biological attack could cause during the 2004 Olympics (search), according to confidential State Department analysis cited Tuesday by a newspaper.

In response, the Greek Public Order Ministry said its main focus is "prevention and deterrence of terrorist threats."

The State Department report, reported by the To Vima newspaper, said Greek officials seem to think a biochemical attack could not happen.

Security planning does not "cover the response capabilities and the reserve capabilities" for a biochemical attack with "mass casualties (more than 1,000 victims) and damage," To Vima quoted the report as saying.

The report called on Greece to increase its supply of chemical antidotes and blood bank supplies, the newspaper reported.

To Vima did not say how it obtained the report, which it said was prepared after a September visit to Athens by a team of U.S. security advisers and then handed over to the Greek government. The copy received by the paper was in Greek.

In Washington, State Department (search) spokesman Richard Boucher would not confirm the contents of the report. He said the United States was working with Greece on Olympic security and felt the Greeks "have the will and the resources to hold a secure and successful Olympics."

"Our feeling is that this far in advance, one year in advance, is a good time for exercises to identify deficiencies or areas that need to be worked on -- so that by the time we get to the games everything can be the way it should be," Boucher said.

Greek officials insisted Olympic security planning is complete and comprehensive.

Government spokesman Christos Protopappas did not specifically comment on the report, but stressed that Greece will host "safe and successful" games.

"You should have no doubt that we will succeed," he said.

Asked about the report, Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni said "all measures that are humanly possible are been taken" to protect the Olympics.

"Everyone knows that we live in a period of great dangers, (but) Athens is preparing to hold safe Olympic Games," she told journalists.

Olympic organizers earlier this month announced a 25 percent boost in the security budget to $755 million. But the U.S. report noted "no coordination" among various Greek agencies and first-response teams and stressed that "operational plans" were incomplete.

The United States is part of a seven-nation panel advising Athens on security for the Aug. 13-29 Games. The first major test of security operations and equipment is scheduled for December.

U.S. officials have said at least 100 security agents will accompany the country's team to the Olympics as part of a $2.7 million special State Department security package. A U.S. Olympic Committee team, including security experts, is scheduled to visit Athens next month.

The U.S. Embassy in Athens (search), meanwhile, is preparing to bolster its protection. The State Department has approved a budget of $33 million for the improvements to include "environmental security" against a biochemical attack.