FBI: 'Unprecedented' Security For New Orleans Mardi Gras
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Security for Mardi Gras will be "unprecedented," featuring so much surveillance that you can "assume that you are being filmed wherever you are," the agent who runs the city's FBI's office said Tuesday.
Agent Jeffrey Sallet wouldn't discuss all of the technology authorities were using to keep an eye on the celebrations but said private surveillance cameras already in the French Quarter, along parade routes and other locations will be supplemented with temporary cameras where needed.
"Assume that you are being filmed wherever you are and whatever you're doing," Sallet said at a City Hall news conference.
He and Mayor Mitch Landrieu stressed that there is no known "credible threat" to the celebration.
Carnival season begins Jan. 6 each year and continues until Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, a final day of revelry before Ash Wednesday and Lent. Mardi Gras falls on Feb. 9 and the season kicks into high gear with major parades beginning Jan. 29.
The city's police force of more than 1,100 officers will be bolstered by 170 state troopers, 100 FBI agents and dozens of officers from neighboring jurisdictions. Many of the officers will be working undercover.
"We will have a lot of officers in plain clothes," said police chief Michael Harrison.
In addition, members of the Massachusetts State Police are providing training and advice based on lessons learned from the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
Sallet previously worked in Boston, where he coordinated the law enforcement response to the bombing.
"I can say unequivocally, that our preparations for this Mardi Gras, our ability to respond if something does happen, is absolutely unprecedented," Sallet said.
– by AP Reporter Kevin McGill