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Olympic Credentials

February 11, 2004

ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ Olympic organizers will use more secure credential cards in an attempt to thwart forgeries and terrorism at the games.

The cards will be safeguarded similar to passports and will add such features as holograms, accreditation program manager Stratis Telloglou said Wednesday.

``After the Sept. 11 attacks we had to make sure that we limit the points of intrusion to our security,″ Telloglou told The Associated Press.

He said organizers sought advice from numerous security services, including the CIA, to design the new cards.

Telloglou said about 80,000 accreditation cards will be issued to athletes, journalists and officials for the August Olympics. They will also serve as visas for Greece.

``We cooperated with the Greek security police, the forensics department, the anti-terrorism department ... as well as foreign security agencies like the CIA and had very difficult negotiations with the European Union,″ Telloglou said.

Greece is one of 15 European countries that have agreed to allow border-free travel among members. Nationals of some countries require special visas to enter countries in the 15-nation group.

The new cards are part of a $750 million security plan for the Athens Games that has become the costliest in Olympic history. The Athens security budget is three time larger than that of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Greek authorities also are setting up an electronic database to speed background checks for people that will receive the accreditation cards.

The cards will be produced in cooperation with Kodak _ an Olympic sponsor _ and Toppan, a Japanese company whose equipment has been used to manufacture more than 70 million passports for 22 countries.

``All information, such as the photograph of the card holder, the passport number and other security features, will be printed on a very thin film that is embodied on the accreditation card and which is impossible to forge,″ Telloglou said.

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