Through a combination of plainclothes agents, a bomb-sniffing dog and a command center at the U.S. embassy in Paris, the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security makes sure thetravels, trains and plays in peace.
While security is now at its highest levels, in the run-up to the World Cup some U.S. planners and organizers told CBS News they were concerned that French authorities weren’t taking security seriously enough, allegedly making comments like “it’s not the real World Cup … it’s just the women.”
Jamie McCourt, the U.S. ambassador to France, told CBS News’ Roxana Saberi, “It’s no secret that our diplomatic security had concerns.”
Tens of thousands of American soccer fans would be visiting France for the tournament— a country with a history of terrorism and where, just last month, a bomb exploded in Lyon, the host city for the final games of the World Cup.
“We don’t have any specific credible threats … but we’re always prepared for a worst case scenario,” said diplomatic security agent Andriy Koropeckj.
Koropeckj said France has been busy securing other large gatherings, from the D-Day commemorations earlier this month to the weekly against economic inequality.
“The French services are very capable … and they really need to pivot from one event to the other,” Koropeckj said.
So as the World Cup approached, Ambassador McCourt decided to get their attention.
“When we have to speak with the French government, we do our part,” she said. “About providing the security that is requisite for the American team … so we pressed.”
“And now the team is here, and hopefully everyone will be safe and secure,” she added.
Diplomatic security agents told CBS News they’re now “very satisfied” with France’s support, which means the players they’re here to protect can keep focusing on the field.
French authorities called the allegations that they were dismissive of the event because it’s the women’s World Cup “stupid.” They say the presence of American security officers is “totally excessive considering the nature of the event.”
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