Countries unite to disrupt terror threats to Sochi Olympic Games
February 7th, 2014
11:05 AM ET

Countries unite to disrupt terror threats to Sochi Olympic Games

By Evan Perez and Paul Cruickshank

U.S. authorities are working with Russia and other countries to try to disrupt possible threats related to the Sochi Olympics, in addition to the toothpaste tube terror concern, a U.S. intelligence source said.
The official said the threats varied in credibility.

The biggest source of those threats is the group Imarat Kavkaz in Russia, which has publicly said it will try to disrupt the Games, the official said Thursday.

The concern about the threat of toothpaste or cosmetic tubes being used to hide explosives originated "from the leader of the Chechen rebel extremists," said U.S. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican.

"That's where the plot hatched out of," McCaul said in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

Separately, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger, told CNN the information passed on to U.S. authorities about explosives disguised as toothpaste and cosmetics mainly came from "chatter."

But he said the United States was right to act out of caution because often, chatter indicates a real threat.
Concern about the threat prompted French officials to arrest two Chechen women this week, the U.S. intelligence source said.

Eric Pelletier, the national security correspondent for the French newspaper L'Express, said French intelligence began looking into the connection of the women to terrorism in December after information from a foreign intelligence service warned of a "black widow" threat.

The women, who were not identified, were arrested in La Roche-sur-Yon and Stasbourg.

One was the widow of Chechen Jihadist Khamzat Chemilev, known as the "emir of Grozny" who was killed battling Russian security services in August 2010, and the other was his sister, sources told Pelletier.

At the same time, Russia sent similar communiques to other European countries about concerns that Chechens and others planned to return to Russia to carry out an attack. This seems to have been largely preventive.

Pelletier said the sources indicated the information came from Russian intelligence.

There was concern the women in France would travel to Russia - and more specifically the Sochi area - to launch suicide attacks during the Olympics.

While the initial warning to the French did not mention a concern about explosives in toothpaste tubes, a subsequent intelligence alert sent to Western intelligence services in January regarding the toothpaste threat raised the level of concern about the two women.

In the French arrests this week, authorities were looking for evidence connected to the threat involving toothpaste and cosmetic tubes, Pelletier said.

But after the arrests, French law enforcement found nothing to suggest the women were a threat or had plans to travel to Russia.

Chemilev's widow was let go and his sister was to appear before French prosecutors in Paris later on Friday.
Investigators are interested in the contents of her computer and are likely to place her under formal judicial investigation, according to Pelletier.

Arrests of suspected Chechen extremists were also reported in Austria, but according Helmar Dumbs, a national security reporter for Die Presse in Austria, the Interior Ministry denied there was any connection to the use of toothpaste container explosives on planes.

The Austrian suspects remain a concern although they have been cleared, McCaul said.

"There were six Austrians detained and questioned and, for lack of evidence, let go," McCaul said in the CNN interview. "They are under surveillance. Currently, they are of a concern, obviously."




soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. bitty31985

    Lies lies lies...

    February 13, 2014 at 5:55 am | Reply
  2. emil kaiypov

    My name is Emil Kaiypov. I am a citizen of the Kyrgyz Republic, a lawyer, and a father of two children. The proposal for which I am asking your kind support is the suspension of all currently existing hostilities on Earth.

    The main goal of my entire project is to save and improve the lives of children who are suffering from the present conflicts and violence.

    The challenge is to create a moment of "pause" [a technical term from video language] in hostilities now and in the future, as well as to refusal to restart them at all. I believe that in this context, such "pause" in the war action seems do-able and practical, much more effective than the idealistic and utopian pressing of an imaginary "stop" button. In the future the first action will equate to the second: "pause" will become "stop". In order to alert the international community and potential supporters, I made a demonstration of my own at 18 October 2013 on the territory of Syrian embassy in Beirut, with poster "pause the war".

    The purpose of this demonstration, is to show through an example that:

    1) one person has the power to perform an action directed to the benefit of all mankind.

    2) no one should be indifferent, when war is concerned.

    3) war requires us to drop everything else, in order to stop it. Daily activities, against the background of war, look meaningless and empty.

    I believe, that this idea will resonate and supporters will wish to join it. The age of information technologies, will help to spread it around the globe. Definitely there will be supporters among the world's famous celebrities. In the event that a large number of ordinary people and celebrities join this campaign, the dream to stop all military actions on the planet will be realized. This will serve as an occasion to announce the call for volunteers in the "international army of peace". It will consist of unarmed "soldiers" who are ready at any time, to go to the hot spot to "pause" the hostilities with the fact of their presence and to encourage the warring parties to engage in dialogue. Ideally, this army should consist of a world-famous and beloved celebrities from all spheres of human activities.

    I suggest that countries be ready to support my initiative, in solidarity, by placing on the cloth of their national flags, the well-known pause symbol "II". I believe that in the course of implementation of this anti-war action, the reasons for which the suspended armed conflict began, will be resolved or continued in a civilized manner. This anti-war action will bring about a new peaceful reality, when there will be no state left, which "international army of peace" had not visited.

    The termination of all hostilities, will become the point of departure for further continuous progress in all directions.

    We are able to bring about the time, when the world will be fairly managed by a workable international organization which will be trusted by all citizens of the earth. When this happens, all kinds of weapons will be transferred to international United Nations control, the purpose of which, will be the preservation of peace and sustainable development of mankind.

    We live in a world, when the collective effort makes possible the colonizing of other planets in the foreseeable future. I believe, that we have enough strength and resources for the child born tomorrow to see a world, where uniform international standards of education, labor, pension and medical care, will be established everywhere. A world, where the primary human needs will be satisfied for free.

    A world, where nobody talks about freedom, because absolute freedom will accompany each person from the moment of birth, to his last breath. A world, where the happiness and freedom of the individual, will not happen in isolation but will include freedom and happiness of all of humanity. A world without war.

    A world without war is undisputed goal, that sooner or later humanity will definitely reach. It is the primary duty of every adult to fulfill a "world in peace"– everyone’s childhood dream. Every child surrounded by the horrors of war dreams that one day somebody will come and say "It is enough!" and by saying it bring war to an end. Then war will stop. That day has come! It's time to combine our efforts in order to make that dream come true.

    February 11, 2014 at 2:17 am | Reply
  3. Hank

    The best that can be done is a united front against radical terrorists. The whole Russia bashing thing and the negative attention directed at Russia and its hosting of the Olympics is not neccessary. It's almost as if the USA is trying to put overeblown fear into people just because of political differences and that is wrong. Putin is busting butt to ensure a safe Olympic venue. Let's give him credit where credit is due. And let's enjoy the winter games and send good vibes to all the good souls who are there.

    February 8, 2014 at 10:27 pm | Reply
  4. Skorpio

    The long term solution is to have all Christian churches, Catholic and Orthodox join forces to convert millions of Muslims to Christianity. The root of all evil and violence is Islam, anywhere Islam is, one only finds violence, war, division, threats, coercion, vengeance, discrimination, death and destruction. the "Satanic Verses" of the Qu'ran and prophet Mohammed's highly immoral, perverse, irrational, violent, intolerant and discriminatory conduct are the role models for millions of brainless Muslims.

    February 8, 2014 at 5:20 pm | Reply
  5. JJ

    This proves one fact beyond any doubt - Vladimir Putin is so incompetent he cannot guarantee safety within his OWN country.

    February 7, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Reply
    • StanCalif

      And good ole GWB protected Americans from 9/11! Then stupidly attacked the wrong country for revenge! Ha, ha, ha!

      February 8, 2014 at 5:00 pm | Reply
      • Michael B

        The events that led up to 9/11, wasnt GWB's fault. It was all of Americas fault because we didnt have since to pull our head out of the sand. Us americans cant face the truth that not everybody in the world loves america and what we stand for. Once we get that thru our heads then we can fix everything else.

        February 10, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
      • bitty31985

        so true

        February 13, 2014 at 5:59 am |
    • bitty31985

      Our own government that's been spying on us since 2001 hasn't been able to stop domestic plots.. BOSTON

      February 13, 2014 at 6:00 am | Reply
  6. dylan

    Why woud they do this

    February 7, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Reply

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