High Security Had Been Planned for Rabin

Kennedy School's Precautions Included Snipers, Scores of Officers at Speech

At the time of his assassination, University officials were planning extraordinarily tight security for a speech by the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was scheduled to visit campus this week.

Officials said the security, which would likely have included clearing employees from Kennedy School buildings, was designed to prevent an assassination of the type which killed Rabin in Israel two weeks ago.

"We certainly would have experienced heavy security," said Steven M. Singer, director of communications and public affairs at the Kennedy School of Government.

Harvard Police Lt. Lawrence J. Murphy said that security for Rabin's visit would have been approximately as heavy as that during the visit of Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat on October 24.

"It would have been very close to that which we had for Mr. Arafat," Murphy said.


Security for Arafat included snipers, dozens of uniformed and plainclothes officers and more than 75 police vehicles, including a helicopter. Tickets were checked with an ultraviolet scanner, and bags were left at the door.

Like Arafat, Rabin would have entered and left through a rear entrance to the Kennedy School. Lt. Murphy said the measure was intended to prevent the kind of assassination which killed Rabin.

Rabin was killed in a parking lot as he left a peace rally on November 4 in Tel Aviv.

Singer said that he could not recall an event with greater security than Arafat's visit--not even for Vice President Al Gore '69 or other visiting dignitaries like former Soviet Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev.

"In nine years at the Kennedy school, we've never had higher security," he said.

Murphy stressed, however, that security for every visitor is different.

"It varies from person to person," he said. For example, the Department of State's Office of Diplomatic Security provided extra protection for Arafat. But since Rabin was a head of state, the U.S. Secret Service replaced the State Department in security plans.

At the time of Rabin's death, Harvard Police had just begun to develop security plan's for the head of state's visit.

"We just started doing preliminary walk-throughs when the event [the assassination] occurred," Murphy said