"It's not so much that the threat is raised [with the Olympics], but the visibility is raised," he says. Even a small attack would be instantly seen around the world and magnified.
Such a situation is tricky for the government, he says. If officials foil attacks, no one will notice and Parliament will wonder why so much money was spent. If an attack gets through, security agencies will be grilled.
No detail of the Games has more irked locals than the plan to post antiaircraft missiles around the city, including atop an East End apartment tower.
The plan came to light when the Ministry of Defense informed residents with a leaflet. Brian Whelan, a journalist living in the tower, publicized the issue and filed a lawsuit – only to have his landlords move to evict him.
"I'm being victimized for what I did," Mr. Whelan told the recent gathering of residents, which the ministry chose at the last minute not to attend. "I am not sure how they are going to face a terrorist threat if they can't even face us."
The legal bid by residents to stop the missile deployment was quashed today by a British high court that ruled the weapons presented "no real threat" to the residents. The decision clears the way for the missiles to be deployed within days.