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Greece will allow 400 American Special Forces troops to be present at the Olympic Games under NATO auspices, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

The delicate arrangements, which officials say will not be formally acknowledged for fear of roiling anti-American sentiment, represent a significant departure from Olympic tradition and Greek law, which prohibits foreign personnel from carrying weapons within the country, the Times reported.

Until now, the only nation known to have armed security forces at the Olympics is Israel, whose agents have been armed largely without prior approval from host countries since 1972, when Black September, a Palestinian group, killed Israeli athletes and officials in Munich.

The agreements also allow 100 armed American agents to be used largely as bodyguards for American athletes and dignitaries. The FBI also is sending a hostage rescue team, as well as evidence-gathering and analysis personnel. They, too, will be armed, an American law enforcement official told the Times.

Despite the agreements, Greece and the United States are still in prickly negotiations over the rules that will govern the American security agents.

“I am certain we are going to be able to carry our guns,” an American official said. “I’m not sure what we’re going to own up to.”

The Greeks had made a number of other concessions that the Americans will not admit to, he said. “We must do this in a way that gives the Greeks their national pride.”


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