Security personnel walk in the Olympic Park in the Coastal Cluster on Jan. 9 in Adler, Russia.(Photo: Michael Heiman, Getty Images)
(USA TODAY) -- A possible female suicide bomber may have already made it past the
ring of security for the Sochi Olympic Games, according to reports from
ABC News and NBC News.
Russian security services may be
looking for as many as four "black widows" who have been dispatched to
disrupt the Olympics, NBC News reported Monday. The suspected terrorist
who may be inside the security ring is believed to be a young widow of
an Islamic militant killed by Russian security forces last year. She is
described as being affiliated with the Caucasus Emirate, the terror
group led by Doku Umarov that has threatened attacks against next
month's Winter Games in Sochi.
describe the woman as having a limp in her right leg, a left arm that
does not bend at the elbow and a 4-inch scar on her cheek. The notices
say that Russian security officials have been informed of her possible
departure from Dagestan earlier this month.
groups in the Caucasus are known to use "black widows," considered by
security experts to be harder to identify because they do not fit the
stereotype of an Islamic militant and can easily change their appearance
with clothing and makeup.
Russian authorities are
primarily responsible for security at the Games, although the U.S.
government provides additional security for the Olympic delegation.
About 40,000 Russian police and military personnel have been dispatched
to the region.
SEE ALSO: Many Americans staying away from Sochi Olympics
In Sochi, the Olympic Park on the
coastal cluster includes venues for ice sports such as figure skating,
hockey, speedskating and curling. It is surrounded by a heavy security
ring, as has been the practice for past Games.
earlier concerns raised by members of Congress about the safety of
Americans at the Sochi Olympics and the release of a video by two
purported suicide bombers underscored the terror threat Russia faces as
it prepares to host the Winter Games in 17 days.
militant group in the volatile Caucasus region threatened to attack the
Games and claimed responsibility Sunday for two bombings last month in
the southern city of Volgograd which killed 34 people.
authorities, however, were analyzing the group's video posted on an
extremist website, and it was immediately unclear whether the boasts of
the two unidentified men represented a credible threat to the Games, a
federal law enforcement official said.
SEE ALSO: Authorities analyze possible threat to Sochi Olympics
The official, who is
familiar with the video but not authorized to comment publicly, said
there was no definitive evidence to indicate whether the two men
pictured in the video were linked to the Volgograd bombings.
Fuentes, former director of FBI, said on CNN on Monday that the security
threat to the Games is unprecedented, adding there hasn't been a
"threat of this nature and strength in the history of the Olympics."
Security concerns were heightened for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, the first Olympics after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Michael McCaul (Texas-R) said he planned to be in Sochi today to assess
the situation. "All the briefings that I've received, from the
intelligence community to the FBI and others, indicate that there are
serious concerns, and that we need to do a lot to step up security. I do
believe (Vladimir) Putin is doing a lot of that," said McCaul, chairman
of the House Homeland Security Committee, on ABC's This Week.
called for more cooperation from Moscow on security issues while
raising concerns for Americans going to Sochi. "I would not go, and I
don't think I would send my family," Sen. Angus King (Maine-independent)
The State Department has advised Americans attending
the Games to keep vigilant about security because of potential terrorist
threats and crime.
Last week Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said
Umarov, who made threats against the Games, has died. He had no proof of
Umarov's death but said the information was obtained through
communications between other rebel leaders.
spokesman Patrick Sandusky reiterated Sunday that the USOC works closely
with the State Department to ensure athletes' safety, which is the
general practice for every Games.
In the aftermath of the
bombings, some American athletes said they had full confidence in the
host country's security measures. "Putin is not going to compromise
security. This is his baby," speedskater Patrick Meek said.
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