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NATO Summit security team has eyes open from secret suburban Chicago location

Reporters tour Multi-Agency Communications Center (MACC) Thursday May 17 2012. The MACC is central point communications for agencies involved security

Reporters tour the Multi-Agency Communications Center (MACC) Thursday, May 17, 2012. The MACC is the central point of communications for the agencies involved in security efforts for the NATO summit. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

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Updated: June 29, 2012 9:45AM

From a secret suburban Chicago location, officials from more than 40 different agencies sit side by side with a giant central screen before them.

If necessary over the NATO Summit weekend, everyone in the room will be able to view live video feeds from security cameras that are already up and running throughout the city.

The goal of the Multi-Agency Communications Center — with agencies including the FBI, Chicago Police Department, Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois National Guard — is to quickly take in and share all kinds of information over NATO weekend.

The center was open for a media tour on Thursday, though only on the condition that its precise location not be disclosed.

Chicago Police Capt. Hootan Bahmandeji showed how, on his laptop, he could call up a specific camera and have immediate access to “a bunch” of real-time street-scene videos over more than a dozen locations.

“We’re using all of our resources, whatever helps out,” Bahmandeji said.

FBI spokesman Ross Rice said that any camera available to the Office of Emergency Management Center would be accessible.

The video, though, was just one tool available to the center, which also will have a feed of various incidents happening over the weekend, including power outages on certain areas.

“Everybody’s represented here to cover every possibility,” said U.S. Secret Service spokesman George Ogilvie.

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