Olympic security breach allowed intruder near Biden at Opening Ceremony
Updated 9:06 p.m.
By Spencer S. Hsu
A mentally ill man breached security and got within 12 rows of Vice President Biden as the U.S. leader watched Friday's Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canadian security officials said Wednesday.
The unarmed man was stopped by two Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and he was arrested when he tried to flee while being escorted away from a VIP section in B.C. Place, said Olivier Lapointe, a spokesman for the RCMP-led Integrated Security Unit.
The man, a 48-year-old resident of British Columbia, was not charged, Lapointe said.
"U.S. security personnel who were with the Vice President were briefed and expressed no concern with ISU action," Lapointe said. "In fact, they were complimentary and they were satisfied with what happened."
The incident was first reported Wednesday by CTV, a Canadian television network.
According to RCMP Assistant Commissioner Bud Mercer, the man "had an infatuation with the U.S. vice president," CTV reported. Mercer told the network that Biden told his team, "Job well done. Remind me not to mess with you."
A spokesman for the Secret Service, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Malcolm D. Wiley Sr., said that the RCMP had told the agency "that this individual was not in close proximity to Vice President Biden, nor do we know at this time if he had a direction of interest toward the Vice President. We hope to receive updated information from the RCMP to clarify the circumstances of this incident."
Lapointe said the man apparently used a faked all-access pass, which he fabricated himself, to enter the arena, clearing a checkpoint that was the responsibility of the Vancouver Organizing Committee and event services personnel.
The man did encounter ISU security personnel at a second perimeter, where he passed through a metal detector. Police assumed his credentials were in order, before the plain-clothes RCMP officers guarding Biden spotted him and turned him over to Vancouver police.
"From what we can see, he had no malicious intent, he had no weapons and he was not violating the law," Lapointe said, "so we strongly believe that not at any time was there a danger to the vice president."
Spencer S. Hsu
February 17, 2010; 8:58 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency , Joe Biden
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