UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters assigned to U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) patrol the airspace over Hard Rock Stadium in advance of Super Bowl LIV in Miami Gardens, Fla., Jan. 27, 2020. (CBP photo by Jerry Glaser)

‘No Specific Credible Threats’ to Super Bowl as DHS Components Secure Venue

The Department of Homeland Security considers Super Bowl LIV one of the highest-risk events of the year, and is making sure the Miami venue is secure ahead of Sunday’s face-off between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs.

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Assistant Director for Infrastructure Security Brian Harrell, who did a walk-through of Hard Rock Stadium with Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf this week, told HSToday that “there are no specific credible threats to this event” yet DHS is not letting its guard down as “over 1,500 homeland security employees are been engaged to ensure the security of fans during this event.”

“The Super Bowl and other area venues have been designated as ‘No Drone Zones’ by the FAA. We ask that fans leave their drones at home,” Harrell said. “Fans continue to be our greatest resource to ensure a safe and secure game day. I would encourage the public and everyone participating to be very vigilant. If you see something, say something and be on the lookout for any suspicious activity. DHS works hard so football fans can have fun on game day.”

CISA leads DHS efforts to enhance the security and resilience of soft targets and crowded places, and “has been engaged from the beginning with the NFL and the state of Florida as well as local officials to ensure fan safety during this event,” Harrell added.

Wolf and Harrell were among the DHS officials visiting the Joint Special Operations Center in Miami on Wednesday to meet with federal, state and local law enforcement as well as the National Football League’s security team. The Federal Security Coordinator for the event is U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Brian Swain of the Miami Field Office.

Other DHS components involved in keeping the Super Bowl safe in addition to CISA and the Secret Service include U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which is providing air and maritime support to secure areas around the events surrounding the big game; ICE Homeland Security Investigations, which along with CBP is targeting the sale of counterfeit goods including tickets, hats and jerseys; Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD), which is providing biological, radiological and nuclear detection support; the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which has been concentrating on consequence management planning with partners; the Transportation Security Administration, which is surging staff at airports to handle the influx of travelers; and the U.S. Coast Guard, which is helping secure the waterways around Miami.

“The Department of Homeland Security and nearly every one of the component agencies are in Miami working with our Federal, State, and local partners to ensure a safe and secure Super Bowl week,” Wolf said in a statement. “While there are no specific, credible threats against the Super Bowl, an event of this size and profile creates a potential target for violent actors, cyber-crimes, counterfeit marketers, and even human trafficking. The American people can be sure that DHS and our partners are prepared on all fronts.”

On Monday, Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez said the state is ready to combat human trafficking as crowds descend on the area. More than 300 businesses are participating in the “Stop Sex Trafficking” campaign, which includes signs bearing a hotline number — 305-FIX-STOP — in high-traffic areas. Uber estimates nearly 100,000 of its drivers have been trained to spot and report suspicious activity, and others educated include gas station clerks, hotel staff, and airport staff.

“With such popular large-scale events, our communities are susceptible to the horrible scourge of human trafficking,” Nuñez said. “Our administration is fully committed to combating this pervasive evil by working with the Department of Health and private sector partnerships to train personnel on ways to identify and support potential victims. Together, we all have a role to play to ensure our communities remain safe.”

According to the Human Trafficking Hotline, Florida ranks third in the country as far as human trafficking cases. Miami-Dade County is the worst in the state as far as the number of human trafficking victims.

CISA Updates Soft-Target Resource Guide to Reflect Recent Attacks and Threats

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Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a senior fellow specializing in terrorism analysis at the Haym Salomon Center. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15, a private investigator and a security consultant. She is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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