Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Report: Italians Beef Up Olympic Spying

Italian authorities fearing a possible terrorist attack on the Turin Olympics are conducting surveillance on at least 700 people, USA Today reported Tuesday. Italian officials denied the figure

I
n a front-page story, USA Today quoted Luigi Renella, the Italian police's liaison with the U.S. government, as saying the surveillance operation reflected concerns Turin would be a logical target for al-Qaida or other terrorist groups.

Asked to comment on the report, the Italian Interior Ministry in Rome referred to an interview Renella subsequently gave to the ANSA news agency in which he said he "categorically denied" the 700 figure attributed to him by USA Today.

"I cannot confirm the number - it could be more or less than that," ANSA quoted Renella as saying. "In our investigative and intelligence activities, there are obviously numerous targets" but trying to quantify them is not only impossible but senseless, he said.

Calls from The Associated Press to Renella at the Italian Embassy in Washington were not immediately returned.

Earlier this month, Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu told parliament the Turin Olympics could be a target for terrorists, but stressed there were no "clear signals" of any imminent attacks being planned.

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