Mentally ill man who used fake pass to enter Games opening got close to US VP

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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VANCOUVER - Police responsible for security at the Vancouver Winter Olympics are investigating how a mentally unstable man with a crudely forged pass got into last Friday's Olympic opening ceremonies and within metres of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.
A spokesman for the RCMP-led Olympic Integrated Security Unit (ISU) said the man was in the VIP area of B.C. Place stadium before its officers intercepted him.
He presented no real threat and was turned over to Vancouver city police.
"We took him into custody and he was taken to the Vancouver Police Department jail for breach of the peace and then released," said Vancouver police spokeswoman Const. Jana McGuiness. "It looks like a further psychiatric assessment took place in the days after.
"We're not pursuing charges. The mental health aspect will be investigated."
But the bigger issue seemed to be how he managed to penetrate the building's supposedly tight security with a laminated "all access" pass that looked nothing like the credentials issued to Olympic staff and media covering the events.
"All I can say is he came in with false accreditation and that we're investigating it," said ISU spokesman Sgt. Rich Graydon.
Officials of the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee, known as VANOC, responsible for checking tickets and credentials would not be interviewed, nor would the head of the private security organization responsible for screening entrants with metal detectors.
In a statement issued on behalf of Adam Gray, vice-president of security integration, VANOC said the multi-layered venue security system, "including the access control and credential check systems, is working effectively across all venues."
It acknowledged the man trying to reach Biden was carrying a fake pass.
"However this was not the means with which he entered the venue and proceeded to the next layer of screening," the statement said without elaborating.
"In the interests of ensuring the integrity of the venue security, understandably we cannot provide specific details on how he entered."
VANOC said it has made changes in collaboration with ISU to make sure this doesn't happen again.
Todd Severson, project director with Contemporary Security Canada, which handles the initial screening of staff, spectators and bags at Olympic venues, said the breach was not their problem.
"At the opening ceremony, CSC was responsible for providing pedestrian security screening services which included using magnetometers and handheld metal detectors to screen people and X-ray machines to inspect items and bags," he said in a statement.
"CSC was not responsible for checking accreditation and therefore was not involved in this incident."
In interviews earlier this week with The Canadian Press, neither Severson nor VANOC venue manager for city operations Jan Damnavits mentioned the breach last Friday's breach when asked about how security screening was working.
The incident took place as Biden and other VIPs joined more than 60,000 other spectators to watch the Games opening extravaganza.
The man was spotted by ISU officers working as part of Biden's protective detail as he approached the VIP seating area.
"When the individual was approximately 12 rows away, RCMP officers stopped and escorted the gentlemen further away into a hallway," said Graydon. "At that point he fled and was apprehended by the ISU police."
Graydon said the man had passed through a magnetometer screening during his initial entry and was searched again by police after being detained.
"It was confirmed again that he had no weapons or dangerous items on him," said Graydon.
Secret service officers were briefed at the scene, he said, and expressed no concerns about the incident.
"In fact they were quite complimentary," said Graydon.
A secret service spokesman in Washington said RCMP informed them the man was not a threat but they were awaiting further information on how he was able to enter the building.
"Vice-President Biden was not in danger at any time," Graydon stressed. "This is an isolated incident committed by an individual with no malicious intent who was identified and removed by security."
Each Olympic venue has three layers of security, Graydon explained: an exterior fenced cordon, entrance screening by VANOC event staff who are supposed to confirm the validity of credentials or spectator tickets and monitoring of pedestrian areas by police and security guards.
Authentic credentials contain safeguards against forgery, including a hologram like the ones used on Canadian currency, a bar code for laser scanning and even a pattern of raised dots on the laminated plastic covering.
RCMP Assistant Commissioner Bud Mercer, who heads ISU, told CTV that the 48-year-old man "had an infatuation" with Biden.
Mercer said he was arrested by two female plainclothes Mounties who told Mercer he just didn't seem to fit in.
The network showed pictures of the man's homemade accreditation, comprised of a pass printed off the Internet and laminated. It doesn't look anything like the official accreditation worn by everyone from volunteers to officials to journalists.

Organizations: ISU, RCMP, Vancouver Police Department Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee Canadian Press CTV

Geographic location: VANCOUVER, U.S., B.C. Place stadium Washington

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