The federal government is going to be all over the Super Bowl, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Wednesday blog post. Secretary Jeh Johnson met with local law enforcement officials in East Rutherford, N.J. yesterday to discuss the security for Sunday's big game. According to the department, 13 other federal offices will assist in security as well, including the FBI and the Defense Department.
"To help keep fans safe, DHS is continuing our partnership with the NFL through the 'If You See Something, Say Something™' public awareness campaign, first launched at Super Bowl 45," the department's federal coordinator Andrew McLees wrote. "Time and time again, we see the value of this kind of public vigilance. Fans and visitors in the New York and New Jersey area will see the 'If You See Something, Say Something™' message at the airport, hotels, on buses, and billboards leading up to and throughout Super Bowl weekend. The message will also appear in the game day program, the official fan guide, and on the video board during the game."
According to Homeland Security, some of the security will include:
- The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams, comprised of Federal Air Marshals, surface and aviation transportation security inspectors, Behavioral Detection Officers, Transportation Security Officers, and canine teams, are helping secure transit to and from the stadium.
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and non-intrusive inspection equipment scan the cargo entering the stadium for contraband such as narcotics, weapons, and explosives.
- CBP Office of Air and Marine will enforce Air Space Security.
- The U.S. Coast Guard will support maritime and waterways security.
- CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will conduct operations specifically targeting counterfeit vendors and local merchants of game-related sportswear. This is part of a crackdown on intellectual property rights (IPR) violations and to ensure fans are getting official Super Bowl related memorabilia.
- TSA is sending additional screeners and doubling the checkpoint lanes at Newark Liberty International Airport for the influx of fans traveling for the game. TSA will also conduct baggage screening operation at Secaucus Junction station on the day of the game
A 2013 Government Accountability Office report found that the TSA's Screening of Passengers by Observation Technique (SPOT) program — which utilizes the behavioral detection officers — is ineffective due to "methodological weaknesses" and that it produces a result that is "slightly better than chance." In other words, the department sunk over $900 million into a program that produces the same result as a coin flip.