The Russian government is confident that they will be able to deal with terror threats posed by Islamists from Chechnya at the 2014 Olympic Winter games in Sochi. The Russian security apparatus is not worried about Sochi despite the recent terrorist attacks on a train station and city bus that murdered at least 32 people.
Aleksandr Zhukov, the president of Russia’s Olympic Committee and a senior member of Parliament told Interfax, “No additional security measures will be taken in Sochi in light of the terrorist attack. Everything necessary has been done.”
Patrick Sandusky, a spokesperson for the U.S. Olympic Committee, told The Cable that the USOC is not treating security concerns differently from other competitions, saying, “We treat them all equally. Terrorism happens everywhere, not just in Russia.”
250 American athletes will attend the games. White House spokesperson Caitlin Hayden told The Cable, “Russian authorities will be responsible for overall security for the Olympic Games. U.S. personnel will be in Russia in liaison roles.” She added that the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security will be in charge and will “liaise with host-nation security and law-enforcement officials. This is standard operating procedure for large events, such as the Olympic Games in Sochi, where thousands of U.S. citizens, athletes from Team USA, American corporate sponsors, and members of the U.S. media are present for an extended period of time.”
The State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security was supposed to provide security for the U.S. diplomats in Benghazi before the 9/11 attack.
One American official said, “This is on the Russians. If something goes wrong, it’s really the host country that has a huge stake. I doubt the Russians are even letting us in the country armed … It’s more about coordinating intelligence and making sure everything runs smoothly” with the Russians.
Rep. Michael Grimm, a New York Republican and the co-chair of the House Russian Caucus, wants security officials to be more involved because of the twin bombings in Volgograd recently. He said, “That begins with taking every threat seriously and acting accordingly, so that the Winter Olympics remain a dream for athletes around the globe, instead of becoming a nightmare like Benghazi.”