White House press secretary Jay Carney said there is an increased level of threat reporting ahead of the Sochi Olympic Winter Games starting next month, a day after President Barack Obama talked with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the potential problems and as terror warnings from so-called “black widows” surface.
A photo of a police leaflet seen in a Sochi hotel on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, shows Ruzanna Ibragimova and states that she is at large in the city of Sochi. Russian security officials are hunting down three potential female suicide bombers, one of whom is believed to be in Sochi, where the Winter Olympics will begin next month. (AP/Natalya Vasilyeva)
“We have seen an uptick in threat reporting prior to the Olympics which is of course of concern, although it is also no unusual for a major international event,” Carney said. “We have offered as I said assistance to the Russians, any assistance they might need to counter that threat.”
According to a White House readout of the discussion, Obama offered assistance directly to Putin. It was not clear as to whether Putin accepted.
Carney was not entirely clear, but stressed that the United States would have ample security on hand.
“The United States has offered its full support and any assistance to the Russian government in its security preparations for the Sochi games,” Carney said. “Russian authorities will be responsible for overall security at the Olympics and the State Department diplomatic security has the security lead for the United States. We will send diplomatic security and FBI agents to liaison with host nation security and law enforcement officials. That’s standard operating procedure for large events like this.”
Carney added, “U.S. citizens planning to attend the games in Sochi should be in contact with the State Department. Potential threats to safety and security can be found on the embassy’s website and the Department of State’s travel website. “
Putin has publicly declined help from other nations. He has reportedly 40,000 law enforcement officials inside the 1,500-mile “Ring of Steel” in Sochi. The Pentagon will have two ships nearby in case of a terror attack.