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Super Bowl LI: Security a Presence and Behind the Scenes

By Jim Baumbach, Newsday:

Confetti still was falling on Seattle Seahawks players celebrating their Super Bowl victory three years ago when a Homeland Security director sent the closest thing to a congratulatory email to officers.

The director’s email, sent seven minutes after the end of Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium, said: “We encountered a few minor security incidents — all resolved and deemed nonthreatening to SB48 operations. It was a nice, safe (and thankfully warm) game.”

Super Bowl LI will be played in Houston on Sunday evening, and security again is of the utmost concern. FBI spokeswoman Christina Garza told Newsday that security planning for this Super Bowl began three years ago.

“The Super Bowl is a classic symbolic target, and that’s what the bad guys like to hit, because it puts them front and center to the world,” former FBI agent James Conway told Newsday on Tuesday.

The Super Bowl XLVIII email, along with dozens of Homeland Security and FBI documents obtained by Newsday via a Freedom of Information Act request, illustrate the seemingly endless and perhaps unenviable task of maintaining safety at the nation’s biggest sporting event.

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