Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Olympian Fiasco

When Nick Buckles, CEO of G4S PLC, the rent-a-cop contractor for the London Olympics, conceded on Tuesday that the handing of that herculean $425m security detail had been, up to this point, a “humiliating shambles”, I rushed to Google to find out which of my vast holdings might be under G4S guardianship.
Turns out that G4S PLC is the parent of G4S Secure Solutions which bills itself as “the leading security company in the United States” and which is, in turn, the parent of The Wackenhut Corporation, a handle familiar to every American who has ever seen its logo emblazoned on armored cars and the shoulder patches of burly men wearing uniforms and carrying side arms.

My state of mind eased by the assumption that with a name like Wackenhut, it has to be good, I turned my attention back across the Atlantic where Lambada-loving Tory MP, Jeremy Hunt, Britain’s beleaguered Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media & Sport, was defensively mouthing “I don’t think this is the moment for getting into the blame game,” a bromide worthy of any politician on either side of the pond.
Tellingly, UPI had reported back in November that the FBI, unsettled by what they were hearing about a possible security shortfall, planned to send 500 FBI agents to London to protect American athletes, thereby eliciting outraged howls from U.K. officialdom about those interfering Yanks who want to be in charge of everything.

But, and let’s get to the nub of the kerfuffle: where was Rupert Murdoch in all this? Now I know that a good reporter is supposed to follow the facts to reach a conclusion rather than the other way around, but, like a child looking into a Christmas stockingful of manure and just knowing that there’s a pony in there somewhere; my prize pony is Keith Rupert Murdoch, KSG.

But the best I could come up with is that during the News Corporation wire-tapping scandale-du-jour back in May, it came out that the aforementioned Jeremy Hunt had gotten a bit too cozy with Murdoch’s NewsCorp regarding its plans to take over satellite broadcaster BSkyB. Hardly a smoking gun to train on the Olympic security fiasco, however.

So, okay, there’s not always a pony in there somewhere!

Meanwhile, back in London, G4S PLC has agreed to make up the $55-75m it will now cost the British government to bring in the military to cover the security manpower shortfall, and CEO Nick Buckles has agreed to forgo his bonus.

Stay tuned.

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