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.
    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.

    Arash Arabasadi

    Arash Arabasadi is an award-winning multimedia journalist with a decade of experience shooting, producing, writing and editing. He has reported from conflicts in Iraq, Egypt, the Persian Gulf and Ukraine, as well as domestically in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland. Arash has also been a guest lecturer at Howard University, Hampton University, Georgetown University, and his alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife Ashley and their two dogs.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    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.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora