Russia's President Vladimir Putin in an interview with This Week's George Stephanopoulos vowed to “do whatever it takes” to ensure the security of participants and attendees at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Highlights of that interview aired on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Sunday, Jan. 19.
George reported that overnight, Saturday, Russian security services said they "disrupted an [terrorist] operation." Putin has adopted a tough new iron fist, “take no prisoners” approach against militants intending terrorist action during the Olympics. A video shows Russian forces attacked a stronghold of militants, killing seven of them.
The Olympic torch relay has already been plagued with mishaps and death since the Games began four months ago, Reuters/CBS reported on Saturday, Dec. 18. According to the Associated Press posted by the New York Daily News, a Russian gay protester was detained during the torch relay for waving a rainbow flag in Voronezh, Russia on Saturday. A new video, called a martyrdom video, has surfaced with two self-proclaimed members of the Islamic terrorist group, Caucasus Emirate, boasting that the Sochi Winter Games will be attacked.
U.S. intelligence concern was heightened with the torch going through Volgograd, the site of two suicide bombings in December claimed by the same Islamic terrorist group, on Monday. Intelligence sources indicate this terrorist group has means and intentions to attack either inside or outside of Sochi with their primary goal to embarrass President Putin. As Feb. 7 — the date the Sochi Games begin — nears, concerns for the safety of U.S. Olympic teams and attendees increase.
Reuters reported that the U.S. is in the process of developing a top secret evacuation plan for the safe departure from Sochi and the Games of any U.S. athlete or VIP in the event of a terrorist attack. America has offered Russia more help in the security of the event for all in attendance. However, according to ABC News chief investigative correspondent, Brian Ross, the Russian security do not seem interested in being advised by or in advising American security forces. Putin insists that everything is under control.
There will be small teams of U.S. armed security personnel guarding U.S. teams.