U.S. officials say Russia not sharing Olympic threat specifics

Thu Jan 23, 2014 4:43pm EST
 
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By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Russia is not cooperating enough in sharing intelligence with the United States about possible threats by militants to attack participants at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, U.S. security officials say.

"I'd say that Russia has not been forthcoming in sharing specific threat information," said a senior U.S. official.

A second U.S. official said the United States believes Russia has established effective "ironclad" security measures in and around Sochi, but affirmed that Washington is concerned about Moscow's reluctance to share threat information.

After two suicide bombings killed 34 people in the southern city of Volgograd last month, Russia has been keen to assure athletes and spectators that the Olympics in Sochi, in the turbulent North Caucasus region, will be safe.

Islamist militants in the North Caucasus have threatened to attack the Games.

A U.S. official said that given the formidable security in Sochi, the most likely targets for attacks are other places, including Moscow.

Would-be attackers "don't have to hit the hard targets. They just have to hit the soft target to be effective," the official said.

The U.S. officials did not give details of possible threats. Their expression of concern came despite a phone conversation on Tuesday between Putin and President Barack Obama, during which security in Sochi was discussed.   Continued...

 
A worker prepares a bobsleigh, luge and skeleton track for a competition at the Sliding Center "Sanki", near Krasnaya Polyana near Sochi, January 23, 2014. REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk