What has been less well-reported — and what is of particular concern — experts say, is the lack of coordination between the different security agencies that have jurisdiction over the Olympic Games. Earlier this year, Paulo Storani, the former captain of the Special Operations Battalion of the Military Police of Rio de Janeiro told Deutsche Welle that this traditional Brazilian problem would be a major weakness during the Games: “We lack structure. We don’t even have a single national register to be able to identify criminals quickly. State and federal institutions do not communicate. We are missing a joint policy, and drugs and weapons come here in profusion, through porous borders, both maritime and terrestrial, exacerbating the problem.”One Brazilian defense strategy scholar told Politico this week how reassured he had been walking down the street and seeing the groups of soldiers and law enforcement officials patrolling the boardwalk of Ipanema Beach — until he saw them stop on the beach and drop their weapons to take a selfie. Training for a potential terrorist threat, he said, is difficult when most Brazilians have never experience terrorism and don’t truly believe it could happen to their carefree country.Although Iranian actors have had a monopoly over South America for several decades, new actors are beginning to come into play, especially the Islamic State.In addition to this lack of coordination and training, the Wall Street Journal reports, Olympics officials waited until July 1, just five weeks before the Games were to begin, to award a contract for hiring and training thousands of private security workers to screen for weapons outside Olympic venuesThe fears were almost realized last month when authorities arrested 12 Brazilians they claimed were linked to the Islamic State and planning terrorist acts during the Games. Justice Minister Alexandre de Moraes said in a news conference that the suspects were members of a terrorist cell called “Defenders of Sharia.”*** These are not comforting words to hear for any tourist planning on making the trip to the Games. Even Brazilians are worried. A Brazilian source who has worked closely on the issue of terrorism, and asked not to be identified, told Politico that “it is noticeable that this has generated clear concern among Brazilians in general.” But, he added, “Rio de Janeiro has already begun living in a party mood during these few days prior to the start of the Games … although they might be concerned, people will not fail to make the most of these magical weeks.”Law enforcement officials can only hope nothing happens to disturb the magic. Also On POLITICO Political Sport Russia will do what it wants in Rio By Peter Berlin Political Sport How not to write about Rio By Cerianne Robertson In fact, South America, as a whole, has been relatively sheltered from the ravages of Islamic extremism, with the two very notable exceptions of the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, carried out by the Islamic Jihad Organization, and the 1994 bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina, the country’s largest Jewish organization, allegedly carried out by Hezbollah.A Brazilian soldier patrols the area outside of the rugby stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 4, 2016 | Pascal Guyot/AFP via Getty ImagesEven so, Hezbollah has had a long-standing presence in the South American region, especially in the area known as the “Triple Frontier,” a relatively lawless triangle that borders Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. It is assumed to have been the headquarters for the terrorists who perpetrated both of the terrorist attacks in Argentina mentioned above. The Triple Frontier is home to a large Arab population and has come under intense international scrutiny since 9/11 for its suspected role as a terrorist hotbed. According to a New York Times report, Argentine and American officials have described the area as “teeming with Islamic extremists and their sympathizers,” and they say those businesses have raised or laundered more than $50 million in recent years for terrorist groups.The region is still in the center of an intense debate today, and for good reason. The would-be terrorists arrested last month had tried to buy an assault rifle from a clandestine online site on the Paraguayan side of the Triple Frontier, according to de Moraes.Although Iranian actors have had a monopoly over South America for several decades, new actors are beginning to come into play, especially the Islamic State.Until recently, the only known threat from the Islamic State was a 67-character tweet by Maxime Hauchard, one of the French leaders of the group. “Brazil, you are our next target,” the message said, in French, published days after the November 2015 attacks in Paris. Since then, the Islamic State has launched a new Telegram channel called “Ansar al-Khilafah Brazil,” which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and is the first pledge to come from South America, and has launched an official Portuguese-language propaganda channel.The group’s pivot to South America has not gone unnoticed in the West. West Point Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center released its latest newsletter in June, which featured an article by Richard Walton, who headed the Counter Terrorism Command (SO15) at the London Metropolitan Police during the 2012 London Olympics. In his article, Walton warned that “the Olympic Games, with its mass appeal and global audience, is particularly attractive as an opportunity for political statements, to include extreme violence such as terrorism.” Admiral Kurt Tidd, the top U.S. military commander in Latin America and the Caribbean, warned in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee that radicalization was a huge security threat for the region and that his agency, SOUTHCOM, had already recorded “a number of fighters that have gone over to Iraq and Syria to fight.”This has Brazilian authorities worried, although they’re trying their best not to show it. The Brazilian intelligence agency, Abin, recently distributed a secret report to all the agencies involved in building the security apparatus of the Olympics that “extremist groups, especially the Islamic State, have made efforts to not only recruit followers in the country but also to ensure that some of them are able to act at any time.” The report, obtained by a Brazilian newspaper, stated that “the spread of radical Salafi ideas among Brazilians, combined with operational and legal limitations to monitoring suspects and the difficulty of neutralizing plans for acts of terrorism, contributes to the unprecedented increase of the probability of attacks throughout 2016, especially during the Rio 2016 Games.” It also raised the terrorist threat inside the country to level 4 on a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 being a certainty that a terrorist attack is being planned.The report also revealed that Brazilian authorities have been relying for months on the help of foreign intelligence services like the CIA to receive and analyze chatter and assess threats. In fact, in a statement, the Brazilian Secret Service confirmed that “more than 110 countries have asked to join the Foreign Service Intelligence Center (CISE), whose headquarters will be in Rio de Janeiro, working together with the Games Intelligence Center (CIJ), an oversight agency in the city.”There’s a lack of resources necessary to monitor travel to and from Syria, which raises the risk of lone wolf terrorists committing attacks in ISIS’ name after being trained and brainwashed by the group.The country’s woeful unpreparedness is not only strategic but also legal: Until a few months ago, Brazil did not have a codified anti-terrorism law. This sparked an aggressive social and political debate in 2013, when Brazilian deputies began crafting a law that was finally passed in March of this year. The law was criticized in Brazil as being too vague and serving as more of a tool to control social unrest than to protect Brazilians against terrorism. A panel of four United Nations experts criticized the bill in a joint statement, saying that it was “too broadly drafted and may unduly restrict fundamental freedoms.” The measure that was supposed to help spread the message that Brazil is taking its responsibility to counter terrorism seriously ahead of the Olympics, failed.This situation is compounded by a lack of resources necessary to monitor travel to and from Syria, which raises the risk of lone wolf terrorists committing attacks in ISIS’ name after being trained and brainwashed by the group. Admiral Tidd warned of this threat earlier this year: “Many partner nations are unable to monitor the potential return of foreign fighters and often lack robust counterterrorism legislation and capabilities to confront this threat.” In a recent interview, Luiz Alberto Sallaberry, the head of the Brazilian counterterrorism agency, said that “lone wolves remain the primary terrorist threat to the Olympic Games.” “There is no priority area, the threat is diffused all over the Brazilian territory and abroad,” he added. As the troubled 2016 Olympic games open in Rio de Janeiro, most of the worries have focused on the Zika virus and dirty water. But the bigger worry may be a dirty bomb — or some other kind of terrorist attack, counterterrorism experts warn. Half a million tourists are expected to travel to Rio and bring $1.7 billion in revenue for a country struggling through a financial, political and public health crisis. Yet the tourists also represent half a million new targets.Part of the problem, experts say, is complacency and ill-preparedness: Brazil has long considered itself immune from extremist threats thanks to its multicultural society and its refusal to take sides in the global war on terror. The country’s Muslim population represents less than 1 percent of the total population (35,000 to 1.5 million people, depending on whom you talk to).The inadequacy of Brazilian security forces to counter the overwhelming number of threats being directed at the Olympics has been well documented. Despite the brand-new, state-of-the-art, IBM-built “command center” and the 88,000 security personnel deployed for the games, security experts are not all convinced that the threat response mechanisms in place will be enough.