News / Europe

Experts Say Security Threats in Sochi May Already Be Inside

Experts Say Security Threats in Sochi May Already Be Insidei
X
February 03, 2014 9:29 PM
It’s now less than one week until the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. And while Russia tightens security, many experts agree that it could be too little, too late, saying that many threats are homegrown. VOA's Arash Arabasadi reports.
Arash Arabasadi
It’s now less than one week until the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.  And while Russia tightens security, many experts agree that it could be too little, too late, saying that many threats are homegrown. No amount of security can keep out what experts say may already be inside. 

Many recall, the bomb blast that rocked the stadium in Chechnya's captial city. It was May 2004, a parade on the 59th anniversary celebration commemorating the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.  The bomb killed more than a dozen people, including the newly-elected Chechen president and other government officials.  Dozens more suffer injuries from the explosion - the bomb was built into a concrete pillar.  

This is why some experts fear that despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s so-called “ring of steel” security in Sochi, it may already be too late.

“Assuming that it’s 100 percent effective, although nothing ever is, he set it up long after the Sochi Games were announced and construction started.  That means that cells had the opportunity to move into place long before that construction,” explained Ian von Gordon, director of Operations at the Diplomatic Protection Training Institute in Youngstown, Ohio, which provides security to civilians in high threat environments. He's an expert on terror groups in the North Caucasus.

“There’s probably people who applied to work for either contractors, construction companies, or the Olympics itself, and then they were brought in by those companies as contractors or employees,” he said.

An estimated 100,000 contractors have been working in and around Sochi building venues for these Olympic Games.  They expand sewers.  They drive buses.  And it is nearly impossible to vet all of them, said Glen Howard, president of the Jamestown Foundation, a research institute in Washington D.C.

“This is a big problem just by itself in the people that have already come to Sochi to work.  They could have planted a bomb,” he said.

Like the parade in 2004.  Experts said Chechen separatists may have planted those explosives in the stadium’s structure as many as three months earlier.

“I think I would be very surprised if there was not a bombing or something happened between now and the actual Olympics and when it starts on February 6,” Howard stated.

Sochi is just west of a neighboring Caucasus region where separatists have vowed to fight Russians to the death. 

Andrew Kuchins, director of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said the Games may be too good an opportunity for extremists to pass.

“Sochi is the Holy Grail, I would think, for a terrorist - Islamic jihadist - individual or group to go after.  So, in a way, we have kind of the ultimate showdown,” he said.
 
“You have an unusual, unprecedented situation where you have people from all over the world - civilians - participating in a highly-publicized event,” said von Gordon.

While Russia continues its efforts to keep terrorism out of Sochi, the biggest threat to securing the Olympic Games may already be inside.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Frank from: Boat
February 05, 2014 6:05 PM
What disaster? It's just threats.


by: Barbara from: UK
February 04, 2014 12:03 AM
why would anyone wish to go and see this disaster unfolding is incomprehensible to me... no, thank you...!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid