U.K.: Missiles Could Be Used to Protect London During 2012 Olympics

Britain's Defense Secretary Philip Hammond is ruling nothing out to protect London during the 2012 Olympics, including the possible use of surface-to-air missiles.

Hammond -- responding to a question from his predecessor Liam Fox, who resigned as defense secretary last month -- told Parliament Monday that if the military recommends it, "appropriate ground-to-air defense" could be in place.

Fox noted that surface-to-air missiles had been in place for the Olympics since the 1996 Atlanta games and asked Hammond to confirm that there would be "a full level of multilayered defense and deterrence" for the upcoming London event.

"All necessary measures to ensure the security and safety of the London Olympic games will be taken," Hammond said.

Thousands of British soldiers are likely to be posted at Olympic venues after a security review for the 2012 London Games showed that authorities may need to double the number of guards at stadiums and other Olympic sites.

Discussions with the Ministry of Defense are under way after studies suggested that the 10,000 security guards contracted for the games would not be enough. Some 6,000 soldiers are being considered to protect the games.

Officials on Monday dismissed a report in the Guardian newspaper that the U.S. is concerned security in London will be inadequate and will send 1,000 agents -- including 500 FBI agents -- to the 2012 games.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison, the officer in charge of policing at the London 2012 Olympics, denied friction with the U.S. over security and told the BBC he "did not recognize" suggestions the U.S. will send agents.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the U.S. has an "excellent" relationship with the Metropolitan Police and Olympic planners.

"The U.S. has the utmost confidence in the British Government's arrangements to ensure safety and security for the Olympic Games," he said. Toner added that it is "entirely normal" for the U.S. to engage in discussions with U.K. officials about security arrangements for the games.

Security for the Olympics has been a critical -- and costly -- issue for the games ever since the slaying of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches at the 1972 Summer Games in Munich.

The London Games are seen as a high security threat. The British government is planning for the national terror threat to be "severe" during the Olympics, meaning an attempted attack is highly likely.

About 12,000 police officers will also be on duty on the busiest days of the July 27-Aug. 12 games.