When it comes to the Winter Olympics, most are talking about terrorism and not records, making Sochi possibly the most dangerous games in history.
Even though an unanticipated terrorist attack by the group Black September took place in 1972, at the Munich Summer Olympics, tragically killing 11 members of the Israeli delegation, including six coaches and five athletes, no other such horror has been witnessed at an Olympics.
At the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the threat is very real according to Michael Morrell, former CIA deputy director, who nontheless said on CBS This Morning he would go and even take his family, but these are the “most dangerous Olympics” he’s experienced in his adult life.
In an almost unprecedented request, American athletes are asked not to wear their Team USA gear when they’re out and about Sochi, to avoid attracting unwanted attention, as repeated terrorist threats have put a damper on the usually high spirits prior to any Winter Olympics.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, agrees with Morrell and on Sunday’s Face the Nation said:
“I would say we should not scare people from attending the Olympics. It’s a time-honored tradition. If we do not support our team and show up, I think the terrorists are winning and I think that’s what they’re trying to do here. Having said that, I would say that the security threat to the Olympics, this particular Olympics is the greatest I’ve ever seen.”
After two suicide bombings in the city of Volgograd late last year, the US State Department has issued a travel alert for Americans planning to attend the Winter Olympics.
A video of two terrorist, the purported carriers of the attacks, surfaced in recent weeks. The bombers warn that Volgograd is only a warning and if Russian President Vladimir Putin insists on carrying on with the games, he will be sorry.
They also said that a “surprise” was in store for the Winter Games in Sochi, which begin next weekend.
Morrell says that the danger is that the terrorist groups threatening the Olympics are “capable, dedicated, determined” and has been around a long time with old grievances against their government.
However, Morrell is not only worried about possible attacks on the Winter Games in Sochi. Any target in Russia is a valid one in the eye of the fanatics that are trying to get a point across.
A bombing at a western hotel or airport would create almost as much panic as if it happened in the Olympic village and with around 40,000 Russian security personnel at the Winter Olympics, Sochi is almost impenetrable.
If Morrell was actually attending the Winter Games he would be very aware of his surroundings:
“If somebody put a package down or a backpack down, I would walk away from it as fast as I could. I’d inform security personnel. I’d also watch people’s behavior and if there was anything concerning, I’d walk away.”
The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics begin on February 7 and run until February 23.