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Ashcroft to Visit Olympic Venues

January 17, 2002

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Attorney General John Ashcroft will spend the weekend touring the 10 Olympic venues in and around Salt Lake City and inspecting security preparations, the Justice Department said Thursday.

Ashcroft will meet with Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, Olympic organizers and state and federal security officials.

``The trip has been designed to give the attorney general a firsthand look at the ongoing security measures for the Olympics,″ Justice Department spokeswoman Lori McMahon. ``How is this venue secure? And what are we doing? And if a crisis happens at this particular venue what do we do and how do we take care of that?″

Ashcroft is scheduled to begin his tour Saturday morning. Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge visited Salt Lake City earlier this month.

The government is spending about $400 million on the Olympics, including about $235 million on security. The Justice Department plans to spend nearly $50 million for agents, travel, housing and prosecutors during the games.

The Winter Olympics run from Feb. 8-24. An estimated 70,000 visitors a day are expected, along with 2,500 athletes.

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On the Net:

Justice Department: http://www.doj.gov

Salt Lake Organizing Committee: http://www.saltlake2002.com

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