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DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen details security plans for Super Bowl

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen gave a briefing Wednesday on security for the Super Bowl in Atlanta this Sunday. Because the Super Bowl is a major event which could be a target for terrorism, DHS applies the second-highest security designation to the event, the Special Events Assessment Rating.

Super Bowl LIII is being held at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. Nielsen said over 1,000 DHS officials will be assisting with security for the Super Bowl, including TSA, Secret Service and Coast Guard officers with an active role in "executing operations on the day of the event."

Nielsen also said DHS was "conducting proactive human trafficking enforcement operations," on the assumption that traffickers exploit major sporting events to lure victims. She urged fans to follow the idiom "if you see something, say something" on game day and be on the lookout for any suspicious activity.

"Fans continue to be our greatest resource to ensure a safe and secure game day," she said.

According to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website, CBP aircraft will be patrolling the no-fly zone set by the Federal Aviation Administration on Sunday. CBP will also "assist Department of Defense aircraft in detecting, tracking, and coordinating the interdiction of aircraft violating" the no-fly zone.

Super Bowl security can be expensive for the states hosting the game. The Minneapolis Star reported the Super Bowl Host Committee for last year's game set aside $5 million for public safety, and over $1 million to repay Minnesota for the cost of deploying the state's national guard. Forty federal agencies were reportedly involved in security planning.

The security planning for this year's Super Bowl has been ongoing since 2017, Nielsen said. Atlanta has been the site of terrorist activity at sports events in the past: In 1996, a man set off a pipe bomb at the city's Olympic Village.

Security measures for Super Bowl games come at no cost to the NFL, which took in over $8 billion from revenue across all teams in 2017.

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