Super Bowl gets federal government involved in big way

Federal and military entities—from the Department of Homeland Security to NORAD—have played major roles in providing security for the Super Bowl.

Federal and military entities—from the Department of Homeland Security to NORAD—have played major roles in providing security for the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, DHS component agencies have worked closely for the past year with other federal, state and local authorities to plan and prepare for the Super Bowl.

At the request of the Department of Homeland Security, for example, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) was conducting Operation Noble Eagle air patrols in the airspace around MetLife stadium to enforce the Federal Aviation Administration's temporary flight restrictions there.

The National Guard was on the job too, with about 400 personnel called to state active duty or put on standby several days in advance to assist state and federal officials with security and civil support.

DHS tapped one agency—the Transportation Security Administration—to provide "Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response" teams consisting of federal air marshals, surface and aviation transportation security inspectors, behavioral detection officers, transportation security officers and canine teams to secure transit to and from the stadium. And in addition to increasing screening capacity at Newark Liberty International Airport, TSA baggage-screening was slated for game day at the Secaucus Junction station, where the rail line that leads to the stadium begins.

DHS directed other assets to the event as well—Customs and Border Protection officers to scan cargo entering the stadium for contraband, CBP's Office of Air and Marine component to enforce air space security, and the Coast Guard to support maritime and waterways security.

DHS's Super Bowl efforts were not restricted to New Jersey, however. Several days before the game, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the results of a massive nationwide operation launched last June to target vendors of counterfeit NFL and Super Bowl-related items.

Working together with the NFL and sports leagues in a law enforcement effort dubbed Operation Team Player, special agents and officers from ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, CBP, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and state and local police departments around the country confiscated more than 200,000 items of counterfeit merchandise worth an estimated $21.6 million.

The operation also resulted in the arrest of more than 50 people and the seizure of 163 websites selling the counterfeit items. Over the course of the investigation, the NFL also filed civil seizure orders targeting more than 5,000 other websites.

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