Complete coverage of the Chicago NATO Summit

Inside the Secret NATO Command Center

“Our job is to protect the foreign ministers, who are the equivalent of U.S. Secretaries of State,” says agent Marty Krause.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Far from downtown Chicago, in an undisclosed location, is a Multi-Agency Command Center with an aim to share information with more than 40 different organizations. Phil Rogers took a tour. (Published Thursday, May 17, 2012)

    In a top secret location in a suburban office park,  more than 40 law enforcement and public infrastructure agencies are huddled with a single purpose in mind: making sure that this weekend’s NATO Summit goes without a hitch.

    The scene you’re picturing probably looks like something out of a Jason Bourne movie.  It’s closer to “Office Space”.

    “Any information that’s involved with the NATO Summit or anything around the city would come into here,” says George Ogilvie with the Secret Service.  “Then it would be processed to determine the severity of what needs to happen from there.”

    It is not the darkened room filled with giant screens from the movie “War Games.”  For NATO, the dozens of federal and local agencies have huddled in a converted conference space, featuring a few plasma televisions and row upon row of tables with telephones.  Each agency has its seat, with a paper placard denoting who sits where.

    And it seems everyone is sitting there, from the FBI, to Chicago Police, to Commonwealth Edison.  The Illinois National Guard has a seat, because they are helping to chauffeur the dozens of dignitaries around the city.  The State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service is just a few chairs away.

    “Our job is to protect the foreign ministers, who are the equivalent of U.S. Secretaries of State,” says agent Marty Krause.  It would be his job to make the call to the agency’s field command center, if some kind of information coming into the MACC indicated a threat to one of those diplomats, or even a traffic tie up which might prevent moving them around town.

    “We don’t want any surprises this weekend,” says Joan Hyde of the FBI.  “A room like this where we can share that information in real time, with everyone is going to be a benefit to us.”
     

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