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2014 Winter Olympics

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Toothpaste alert: US warns of possible toothpaste bombs ahead of Olympic games

A toothpaste alert has been issued to airlines and federal agencies, stating that there is a possibility that explosive materials could be concealed in toothpaste or cosmetic tubes, reports Reuters via Yahoo! News today.
The US has warned airlines flying into Russia for the Winter Olympics that explosives hidden in toothpaste tubes could be smuggled on to planes.

Airlines with direct flights to Russia are being made aware of this detailed warning, just days after U.S. officials said they had actionable intel regarding “specific threats” made to the safety of the Sochi winter games.

The source emphasized today that while there has been no known actual threat of a toothpaste or cosmetic bomb, new intelligence information points to a heightened possibility of an attack.

“It’s real. It’s real and we got very good information,” an unnamed government source told CNN. “It’s based on a credible source. We’re taking it seriously so are other countries taking it very seriously.”

Though not officially disseminated to the public, law enforcement agencies were told to be on high alert.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the Department of Homeland Security regularly shares relevant information with domestic and international partners, including those associated with international events such as the Sochi Olympics,” the agency said in a statement.

No official travel advisory has been issued by the FAA or Homeland Security.

“As we have said, if we should receive information in the coming days and weeks that changes our assessment of whether people should travel to Sochi, we will make that information public through the State Department’s usual channels,” a senior administration official said.

Speaking at a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Tuesday, Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, highlighted concerns that Muslim extremist groups may use the world stage to launch a deadly attack.

"There are a number of specific threats of varying degrees of credibility that we're tracking," he said. "And we're working very closely with the Russians and with other partners to monitor any threats we see and to disrupt those."

Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking of potential threats before the toothpaste alert broke, appeared to fluff off the concerns, stating that “anybody who wants to go to the Olympics, which are just a great event, should go. And we’re not telling people not to go.”

Kerry added that people should be alert and precautionary -- the norm after the 9/11 terror attacks.

"We've got a new consciousness about this," Kerry said.

As security concerns mount ahead of Friday's opening games, Russian officials banned liquids of any size on Sochi-bound flights last month.

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