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.

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Airlines warned about possible toothpaste tube bombs ahead of Olympics
February 5th, 2014
06:58 PM ET

Airlines warned about possible toothpaste tube bombs ahead of Olympics

By Mike Ahlers

The United States is advising airlines with direct flights serving Russia to be aware of the possibility that explosive materials could be concealed in toothpaste or cosmetic tubes, according to a law enforcement source.

The source emphasized on Wednesday that there was no known threat to the United States, but the notice to U.S. and international carriers is based on new intelligence information ahead of the start of the Olympics in Sochi this week.

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Will 'black widows,' other terrorists stalk the Sochi Games?
February 5th, 2014
09:44 AM ET

Will 'black widows,' other terrorists stalk the Sochi Games?

By Tim Lister

The Russian security operation surrounding the Sochi Winter Olympics is massive and multilayered. But it only takes one flaw for terrorists to strike, and the Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus sees an attack at or around the Games as a glittering prize in its struggle against the Russian state.

The Emirate, born out of the bloody Chechen insurgency of the past 20 years, has made no secret of its aims. Last year, its leader Doku Umarov said the Olympics were to be held "over the bones of thousands of Muslims who were killed and buried on the territory along the Black Sea," and fighters must not allow that "by any means."

With an estimated 100,000 Russian security personnel involved in protecting the Games, and everything from drones to submarines and extensive cyber security mobilized in a massive counterterrorism operation, the prospect of an attack on an Olympic venue seems slight.

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said terrorists "are looking for small but impactful murderous events so they can impact the dialogue of the Games." While venue security is tight, "outside the venues, (there are) lots of questions," he said.
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U.S. doesn't rule out possibility Snowden secretly talking to Russians
February 4th, 2014
04:54 PM ET

U.S. doesn't rule out possibility Snowden secretly talking to Russians

By Bill Mears

U.S. intelligence officials would not rule out the possibility on Tuesday that admitted National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has been meeting secretly with Russian authorities, who have given him asylum from U.S. prosecution.

The subject of Russia dominated a House Intelligence Committee hearing, featuring testimony from the director of national intelligence, as well as the heads of the CIA, FBI, and Defense Intelligence Agency.

DNI James Clapper told lawmakers it was "certainly a possibility" Russian intelligence services have spoken with Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor whose disclosure of sensitive surveillance methods has caused a political uproar.

"I would find it incredulous if they didn't," said Clapper, about any efforts to influence Snowden by the FSB, Russia's state security organization.
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Filed under: Edward Snowden • Intelligence • James Clapper • NSA • Russia
U.S. finalizing Sochi evacuation contingency plans
January 31st, 2014
05:20 PM ET

U.S. finalizing Sochi evacuation contingency plans

By Barbara Starr

The U.S. military is putting the final touches on a series of orders that will put transport aircraft on standby status to assist in the evacuation of Americans, should that become necessary, at the Olympic Games in Sochi, CNN has learned.

Two U.S. military officials confirmed to CNN the orders are expected to be issued next week and will go into effect with the opening of the Winter Games on February 7.

Both officials strongly emphasized Friday that Russia remains responsible for security and any request for U.S. military assets would have to come through the State Department, which is coordinating government security arrangements for Americans.

The military orders will ensure that in the event of a crisis, C-17 transport aircraft and medical evacuation crews will be ready to move from their base at Ramstein, Germany, to Sochi within roughly six hours of being notified.
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U.S., Russia discussing high-tech aid to counter Olympic terror threat
January 21st, 2014
06:33 PM ET

U.S., Russia discussing high-tech aid to counter Olympic terror threat

By Barbara Starr

Top U.S. and Russian military officials on Tuesday discussed the potential for the United States to share high-tech equipment to counter any use of improvised explosives by terrorists during the Sochi Olympics, a U.S. official told CNN.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey and his Russian counterpart, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, met in Brussels, Dempsey spokesman Col. Edward Thomas said.

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January 21st, 2014
05:18 PM ET

Sochi: Terrorists aim to sow fear as Olympics draw closer

By Jill Dougherty

The Sochi Olympics have become the "Holy Grail" for terrorists, experts on Russia say, and they don't even have to attack the Games directly to claim success.

"You don't necessarily have to hit Sochi to spoil the Games," says Andrew Kuchins of the Center for Strategic & International Studies. "A series of Volgograd-caliber attacks would virtually terrorize all of Russia."

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January 20th, 2014
02:21 PM ET

Warships part of U.S. contingency plan for Sochi Olympics

By Barbara Starr

The U.S. military will have up to two warships and several transport aircraft on standby under a contingency plan to help evacuate American officials and athletes from the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, if ordered, a U.S. official said.

The State Department would take the lead in organizing and evacuating Americans, if necessary, the official with direct knowledge of the plan told CNN.

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Second deadly blast hits Russian city of Volgograd ahead of 2014 Sochi Olympics
A handout picture taken and released on December 30, 2013 by the Volgograd regional Interior Ministry department's press service shows the wreckage of a trolleybus following a suicide attack that destroyed the packed trolleybus killing 14 people in the southern Russian city of Volgograd.
December 30th, 2013
09:00 AM ET

Second deadly blast hits Russian city of Volgograd ahead of 2014 Sochi Olympics

By Jethro Mullen

Another deadly blast has struck the southern Russian city of Volgograd, killing at least 14 people and further highlighting Russia's security challenges as it readies to host the Winter Olympics in less than six weeks.

An explosion hit a trolleybus near a busy market during the morning rush hour Monday, a day after a blast at Volgograd's main train station killed 17 people and wounded at least 35 others.

Like Sunday's attack, the blast Monday was a terrorist act, Vladmir Markin, a spokesman for the country's federal investigation agency, told the state-run news agency RIA Novosti.

No one claimed responsibility for the explosions. But they come several months after the leader of a Chechen separatist group pledged violence to disrupt the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

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Filed under: Russia
Report: U.S. nuclear general drank too much, misbehaved in Russia
December 20th, 2013
10:31 AM ET

Report: U.S. nuclear general drank too much, misbehaved in Russia

CNN's Faith Karimi

A U.S. general who oversaw nuclear weapons boozed, fraternized with "hot women" and disrespected his hosts during an official visit to Russia this year, an investigative report shows.

Maj. Gen. Michael Carey led the 20th Air Force responsible for three nuclear wings.

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