In another illustration of how law enforcement in America is becoming increasingly militarized, the government plans to enforce a no fly zone over the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for this Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Pilots have even been warned that if they enter the restricted area over New Orleans their aircraft could be targeted by missiles.
“The United States Government may use deadly force against the airborne aircraft, if it is determined that the aircraft poses an imminent security threat,” states the FAA in an advisory.
The “notice to airmen” also details how no aircraft will be allowed within a 10 mile radius of the stadium from the ground to 18,000 feet up in the hours before and after the game.
Only military, air ambulance, law enforcement and scheduled commercial airlines flights will be allowed in the airspace during this time.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will also hold an air defense exercise today over New Orleans to drill for potential incursions by unauthorized aircraft during the big game.
“The Falcon Virgo exercise is a series of training flights in coordination with the FAA, FBI, Customs and Border Protection, Civil Air Patrol, the 601st Air and Space Operations Center, and the Continental U.S. NORAD Region’s Western Air Defense Sector. These agencies are part of America’s team for defense of the air space around the nation, including events like the Super Bowl,” states a NORAD press release.
The Super Bowl has been designated a National Special Security Event (NSSE) since 2002, meaning it is seen as a likely target for terrorists. The designation allows the Secret Service to take over security for the event, with the FBI in charge of intelligence.
Before last year’s Super Bowl, the TSA trained thousands of fast food sellers and other vendors to spot terrorists under the “First Observer” program, an issue that attracted ridicule after the story was picked up by the Drudge Report and went viral as a result.
There is little indication that the TSA will have any involvement in this year’s Super Bowl. No information about the event appears on the federal agency’s website and there have been no news reports about TSA agents being involved in security at sites in and around the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
In a related story, GSN reports that, “A team of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies began maritime safety and security operations on the lower Mississippi River,” before Sunday’s game.