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

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes 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.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

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