There may be more US spies than Zika-carrying mosquitoes in Rio over the next couple of weeks, per a "highly classified" intelligence report seen by NBC News. With the blessing of Brazil's government, some 1,000 espionage experts—about 350 of them onsite in Rio—are positioned and ready to protect the Olympics and its spectators. Although there's no known (or disclosed) plot against the sports competition, all 17 US intelligence agencies have taken on the task, in conjunction with their Brazilian counterparts, to "identify and disrupt potential threats," says a spokesman for National Intelligence Director James Clapper. The US force is said to include analysts and members of law enforcement, as well as more than a dozen special-ops commandos from the Navy and Marine Corps.
"Olympic Watch" has been a massive operation months in the making, with the FBI, CIA, NSA, and Secret Service, among others, all playing a part. Efforts include everything from monitoring surveillance satellites and social media to assisting with background checks on the more than 10,000 athletes descending on Brazil's second-largest city. The American military has an especially personal reason to keep a tab on things, per a senior US intel official: Athletes from each of the military branches are competing in the games. "We have actual equities involved," the official says. The Independent last month looked at what it calls Brazil's "pre-9/11 world," reporting that the country has little experience with the kind of international terrorism that has touched the US and Europe.