Is a ''Sum of All Fears'' nuke attack possible? Turns out the Ben Affleck movie takes some liberties in depicting a terrorist attack on Super Bowl Sunday
Ben Affleck, The Sum of All Fears
Credit: The Sum of All Fears: Paramount Pictures

As anyone who’s seen even the trailer for Ben Affleck’s ”The Sum of All Fears” knows, the movie’s pivotal event involves an international terrorist plot to nuke a big game that seems very much like the Super Bowl — which the movie stages in Baltimore, with the president in the stands. A scenario that might have seemed unimaginable to all but Tom Clancy when he wrote the 1991 novel (the movie was filmed last year before Sept. 11), now seems far too easy to contemplate.

But really, could terrorists infiltrate the stadium and plant a nuclear bomb in a basement cigarette machine, as they do in the movie? Asked about the prospect, the U.S. Secret Service, which coordinated security for this year’s game, was, well, secretive. ”When we protect a facility, we try to mitigate any security concerns that exist,” Secret Service spokesman Jim Mackin tells ”We duplicate the security that exists at the White House.”

Viewers can at least take comfort in knowing that, unlike the movie, where the president’s protectors move to save him and leave the crowd defenseless, the real Secret Service is ”responsible for the entire crowd — the fans, the players, the press,” Mackin says.

The Sum of All Fears
  • Movie
  • 124 minutes