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Behind the scenes: FBI's Intelligence Operations Center watches over Super Bowl LV

FBI Intelligence Operations Center up and running
FBI Intelligence Operations Center.
Posted at 3:57 PM, Feb 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-04 17:53:39-05

TAMPA, Fla. — There is a massive effort underway by federal, state and local agencies to make sure Super Bowl LV is safe and secure.

More than 300 FBI Special Agents and Analysts are working to monitor intel online and on the streets.

"We are collecting intel, we have collectors out in the field working with our partners the law enforcement eyes and ears they'll push it back into us we'll take that information we'll run it through the multiple databases that we have with all those agencies that are here," Special Agent in Charge of the Tampa FBI Field Office said. "And, we'll push back out to our partner and say, 'hey here is what we learned about a threat, here is what we learned about a specific person here is what we should be thinking.'"

ABC Action News was granted access to the FBI's Intelligence Operations Center inside the Tampa Field Office. Seventeen different law enforcement agencies from the Secret Service to Tampa PD are all working in that room to monitor threats.

"When you can sit next to that partner for days on end focusing on one problem, which is you know security for the Super Bowl, we just move faster move better," McPherson said. "It's something that the public expects the public demands and service we are providing collectively to the community."

In the wake of the riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, President Joe Biden declared domestic extremism an urgent national security threat in the wake of the riot. The crowd that breached the building as lawmakers were preparing to certify his election was overwhelmingly white and included members of far-right groups.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is ordering military leaders to spend time talking to their troops about extremism in the ranks after several former and current military members took part in the riot at the U.S. Capitol last month.

ABC Action News reporter Michael Paluska asked McPherson if the recent developments change how they protect the event.

"Actually, no, because we deal with terrorism every day," McPherson said. "We may apply different tools because of a large scale event, how many people expect to come into town in one day, the large scale. This is what we do; it's our job; the number one mission of the FBI is to protect the American people from a terrorist attack."

Law enforcement can only do so much. They urge the public to call in anything suspicious. If you see something, say something.