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US officials lay out Sochi security plan

Security Tightens As Olympic Park Opens

WASHINGTON (AP) - Citing rising threats of violence at the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, U.S. officials said Friday they are prepared to work with Russian security officials to help protect American athletes and the 10,000 American spectators expected to attend.

As host country, Russia has prime responsibility for protecting athletes and spectators. The opening ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 7, and U.S. officials are already in Sochi.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that he and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have talked to their Russian counterparts about security for the Olympics, including the need to ensure protections for U.S. citizens.

"If we need to extract our citizens, we will have appropriate arrangements with the Russians to do this," Hagel said, noting the U.S. will have two warships in the Black Sea during the Games.

"As of right now, the Russians have not requested any specific assistance or technology. We want them to know that if they need our help, we want to help," Hagel told Pentagon reporters.

Senior American officials said U.S. officials see the threats as troubling but not unusual for a high-profile event such as the Olympics. The senior officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak by name, said U.S. officials are taking seriously all threats, with the safety and security of all Americans in Sochi seen as taking the "highest priority."

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who was alongside Hagel for a Pentagon briefing, said France also has received no request for assistance from the Russians and added: "If the question is do we have the intention to ensure the protection of your citizens that might have problems in Sochi, the answer is yes."

In an updated travel advisory late Friday, the State Department said the U.S. continues to monitor potential terrorist threats in Sochi, noting a series of recent bombings and other incidents that have occurred in Russia. The State Department urged Americans traveling to the Olympics to register in advance and to remain vigilant while in the country.

"There is no indication of a specific threat to U.S. institutions or citizens, but U.S. citizens should be aware of their personal surroundings and follow good security practices," the travel warning said.

The travel warning also warned that foreigners could face jail, fines or deportation for violating Russia's new laws banning gay "propaganda" to minors.

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slop9124 January 26 2014 at 3:54 AM

The terroists in the region where the games will be is a hot spot for trouble and I won't be surprised if these idiots start blowing themselves up to on the first day. Look how easy it was for the two who placed bombs at the Boston marathon. With thousands of people attending the games one wonders how they can be sure just one gets in and kills a lot of people. I hope the security is as good as they propose it to be and the athlets and spectators will be safe.

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socraticknight January 26 2014 at 1:17 AM

US officials will be hiring the same security consultants who screened the fake signer who stood by the prez at a recent funeral.

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Engelun January 25 2014 at 10:11 PM

Not our problem. The US big shots seem to think they should denote what other countries do on a day to day basis. It is not our business. If you don't like what they do then don't go there. Stay out of other countries business!

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jude15544a January 25 2014 at 8:03 PM

I do not trust any of the politicians in any country! Watch the games on TV, and make sure U R safe! You don't have to go there, especially with the technology we have today. U see the biggest TV screens that make you feel U R there! Why rishk life and limbs for this event in this country? I think Americans are not thinking clearly if they travel there. It also helps Russian economy cause they provide food and lodging while there! If you have children, please stay home! I think they need U much more than the Russians! If anything happens, I will say the Americans and all who got hurt were warned! The threats are real guys and gals! They do not like us and will KILL us if they get the chance! Unless you are doped up or on marijuana, U will understand these words! Don't be an elitist! That's what they want! Show your money and spend it in their country and where will U b buried? If you must go, try a hand of Russian Roulette first! Use your head and also your hearts! You won't make it to the Black Sea to get on a ship-they will throw bombs and there will be people panicing and trampling over U! Don't do it guys and gals-your country needs you and your money to keep it going. Death cannot be overturned-final answer! Love all of U!

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patriot1too January 25 2014 at 6:15 PM

Every American that goes there should wear the American flag with honor and pride. Also every American that goes should be allowed to carry a weapon to defend themselves from the radical islamic evil doers that are a threat to the world. God bless America.

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campbell1221 January 25 2014 at 7:33 PM

Why should god bless America, what has America done to deserve being blessed

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JC January 25 2014 at 7:55 PM

Agreed, and the same should be true of each and every other person who loves liberty and human dignity. All the best to the Americans...and the Italians, and the British, and the Germans, and the Swiss, and the Dutch, and the Australians, and the Argentinians, and the...

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godivasf January 25 2014 at 5:25 PM

We ALL need to do better in our consideration of other lands and the histories of their peoples. Can we not take this opportunity to respect and reflect on the brutal history inflicted on The Circassian Peoples from the region that now includes Sochi? If we persist ignoring these brutal actions and the sufferings inflicted on any group so castigated, history WILL (and continues to) repeat itself.

Who knows the account of the Scottish “Clearances” (both Highland and Lowland)? These people were brutally removed from Scotland in retaliation by England for their Jacobean rebellions in Scotland. The consequences to The Scottish Peoples mirror the description of the clearances and genocide of The Circassian Peoples. And this is only ONE of many examples in history—there are far too many throughout history to enumerate in this short comment. Today, Scotland has a devolved Parliament and is planning a vote for Scottish Independence soon.

I am sick to death of the modern term “ethnic cleansing.” Peoples’ histories are so very intertwined no-one knows whom they are “cleansing!”

Epiphany: It doesn’t matter who started it! It matters very greatly that it must be recognized as history and NOT repeated! The stories may be “written by the victors” but the histories are shared by all.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circassian_Genocide.

Godiva

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paddleman1928 January 25 2014 at 4:18 PM

don't discuss the gay lifestyle with MINORS and you will not be bothered by the gov't.

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patriot1too January 25 2014 at 6:13 PM

It would be better to never ever discuss that nonsense with anyone anywhere. Maybe it will just go away. We all hope.

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Lori January 25 2014 at 3:32 PM

why don't we boycott these Olympics? is it better to possibly risk the lives of our athletes than just not participate?

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paddleman1928 January 25 2014 at 4:20 PM

will you boycott EVERY Olympic event from now on? We had an event(Boston Marathon) and it was attacked, world trade center was attacked, Oklahoma city was attacked. Do you really think you are safer here?

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collectorsbar January 25 2014 at 4:40 PM

SOME OF US ARE! And I'll tell you why the Americans who AREN'T are participating, because they HAVE NO CONVICTIONS, NO INTEGRITY, they will not RISK CASH and let go of GREED for the sake of HONOR and What is RIGHT! NBC, the IOC , athletes and Sponsors SHOULD have insisted these games be moved but they wouldn't COMMIT for fear of losing their almighty DOLLARS!!!

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wd4u2 January 25 2014 at 3:22 PM

The Olympics are NOT the great venue anymore (as a previous commenter said)! This is NOT an amateur sports contest anymore! It is loaded with PROFESSIONAL athletes now. And it WAS an amateur contest back in the 1970's & early 1980's; and that was when ABC covered it for decades--the BEST coverage too, I might add! NBC sucks big time--esp when allowing the asinine idiot Costas to bore us to death every 4 years!! I would stay home and save my skin now--the Russkies have no clue even how to protect an ant from an aardvark!

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2 replies to wd4u2's comment
paddleman1928 January 25 2014 at 4:22 PM

they knew the names of the boston bombers and gave them on a platter to our "security" people-and they still succeeded right under their noses-you really think our guys are better than their guys?

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crazeera January 25 2014 at 4:58 PM

It has NOT been an amateur contest. The 'amateurs' of the 1930s competing for host Germany? They were housed, fed, and trained by the socialist party. The 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s East German, Polish, Soviet, and Red Chinese amateurs? They were fully sponsored by their state (communist) leaders, no amateurs there. 1990s and present? No real amateurs, everyone getting ad deals, sponsorships and other monetary aid. The fact is, there are 'amateurs' that compete, but they face so many hurdles considering funding and training quality, and participate in very obscure events, that the realistic chance to do well is minimized. It is truly a more money-more success dynamic for the majority of athletes and sports. Sad but true.

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Stanley January 25 2014 at 3:03 PM

Every American family thay attends the Olympics should take a vet as part of thier group. He or she should have threat assesment training and is combat experienced Medics or Corpsman preferred.

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