U.S.-Led Security Group Says Still Awaiting Full Payment

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- An American-led consortium that set up a giant security network for the Athens Olympics said Friday the system was fully operational during the games and complained it had yet to receive full payment from the government.

``We are extremely proud of the system that we provided to the Greek state,'' said David Tubbs, a senior vice president with the San Diego-based Science Applications International Corp., or SAIC.

``It was part of the Olympics that in my opinion were outstanding, and not just in terms of security.''

Tubbs said the Greek state had paid less than half of the money in its contract and denied local media reports that only part of the system was ready for the Aug. 13-29 games.

Security was a major concern for organizers of the Athens and cost Greece a massive euro1.2 billion (US$1.5 billion), with euro259 million (US$321 million) going to SAIC's international consortium, which included Germany's Siemens AG; General Dynamics of Falls Church, Virgina; New Jersey-based Honeywell International; and the Israeli company Elbit Systems.

SAIC and its partners installed surveillance and secure communication systems covering Olympic areas and the port of Piraeus, where cruise ships served as floating hotels.

That included fitting cameras on 1,250 concrete columns around the capital. Surveillance equipment was also installed on 12 patrol boats, 4,000 vehicles, three helicopters and an airship.

Under the contract, SAIC was to deliver the system by May 28, but Tubbs said the system was delivered to the Greek government in July because of late construction at Olympic venues.

``At that time it was determined by both SAIC and the Greek government that it would be impossible,'' Tubbs said. ``On May 28 only four out of 10 venues were available for us to go and do our work.''

``Our contract was originally euro255 million (US$316 million),'' Tubbs said. ``There were some deductions, some additions and it ended up at euro259 million (US$321 million). It has not gone up from that point.''

``So far we have received advanced payments of euro117 million,'' Tubbs said, adding that talks with the government are ongoing. ``We still want an amicable solution, but we believe that we have a very strong case as far as the capabilities that we delivered,'' he said.

The government made no comment Friday.

But Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis has said the system was fully operational and that the government is still assessing whether the consortium shared blame for delays.