U.S. authorities were working to determine the credibility of a possible new threat to the Sochi Olympics that surfaced Sunday.
News reported that Islamist militants in Russia released a video
recorded by two suicide bombers who said the Olympics will not be safe
because of the presence of Russian forces in the North Caucasus region.
The opening ceremony will be held in 19 days in the Black Sea resort
city of Sochi.
The video included security footage of two suicide bombings in Volgograd.
in the U.S. were analyzing the video posted on the 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 Sunday.
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 last month's bombings in the city
of Volgograd, which left more than 30 people dead. Volgograd is nearly
400 miles from the Olympic host city of Sochi.
The attacks on the city, a major transportation hub, underscored the threat posed by extremists in the volatile Caucasus region.
"We'll have a surprise package for you," the men in the video said,
according to the ABC report. "And those tourists that will come to you,
for them, too, we have a surprise. ... This will be our revenge."
president Vladimir Putin and government officials have reassured
visitors for months that the country's security forces will do
everything they can to keep the Games safe. On Sunday, he reiterated the
point, according to CNN.
"We will draw on the experience
acquired during similar events held in other regions of the world and in
other countries," said Putin, who added 40,000 law enforcement and
special services officers will be deployed for security. "It means that
we will protect our air and sea space, as well as the mountain cluster."
Sochi Olympics will be held in two clusters with ice sports such as
hockey and figure skating on the coast and skiing and sliding sports in
Putin said security will be visible but visitors should feel welcome.
will try to make certain that the security measures are not intrusive
or too conspicuous, so they are not too noticeable for the athletes, the
Olympics' guests or journalists," Putin said.
bombings in December have raised security concerns. On Sunday, Sen.
Angus King of Maine said on CNN he wouldn't go to the Sochi Olympics and
he wouldn't send his family.
"We don't seem to be getting all of the information we need to
protect our athletes in the games," said Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of
the House Intelligence Committee. "I think this needs to change, and it
should change soon."
While the teams are still being selected for some U.S. winter sports, several athletes have said they're aware of the concerns but they have confidence in Russia's security plan.
State Department issued a travel alert Jan. 10 to U.S. citizens
attending the Games, cautioning them to be "aware of their personal
surroundings and follow good security practices." It said there is no
indication of a specific threat to Americans.
Last week Chechen
leader Ramzan Kadyrov said Doku 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.