2014 Winter Olympics

US State Department Issues Travel Alert for Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics

ADLER, RUSSIA - JANUARY 08:  The Olympic Rings stand outside of Sochi International Airport on January 8, 2014 in Alder, Russia. The region will host the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics which start on February 6th, 2014.  (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)
Michael Heiman/Getty Images
Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IJanuary 10, 2014

The United States' State Department has issued a warning to American travelers ahead of February's 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, preaching added security and highlighting the threat of terrorism, crime and risky medical care, according to ESPN.com.

The alert released on Friday, Jan. 10, called the Olympics "an attractive target for terrorists," but it did not mention any specific threats to Americans.

FBI Director James Comey claims that Russian authorities are working hard to minimize the threat for the Olympic athletes and those traveling to Sochi this winter, per ESPN.com:

We have been in regular communication—including me personally—with their security organizations to make sure we're coordinating well. I think that we are. We've improved our information sharing on counterterrorism and it's important. Securing any Olympics is an enormous task. It's particularly challenging in Sochi because of its proximity to areas of unrest and sources of the terrorist threat. The Russian government understands the threat and is devoting the resources to address it.

The State Department specified one terrorist organization in particular: the Caucasus Emirate. According to U.S. officials, the group has requested attacks on the Olympics and is responsible for previous attacks on public venues and transportation. Still, officials admit that it's uncertain whether the group is capable of carrying out an attack at the Winter Games.

ADLER, RUSSIA - JANUARY 09:  Security personnel stand next to their motorcycles in front of Adler Arena on the Olympic Park in the Coastal Cluster on January 9, 2014 in Alder, Russia. The region will host the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics which start on Febr
Michael Heiman/Getty Images

Comey added that the FBI will utilize "at least a couple dozen people with different specialties" in the region next month, per ESPN.com.

Although the State Department's latest alert is sure to alarm potential travelers heading to Sochi this winter, there's a significant level of risk and danger associated with any global spectacle. Therefore, the travel alert can be considered a warning rather than a scare tactic.

On top of that, the increased security measures taken by the FBI and Russian authorities are encouraging for the athletes, workers and spectators hoping to put on a memorable Winter Olympics.

The 2014 Winter Olympics are scheduled to run from Feb. 7 through Feb. 23. The opening ceremony is set for Friday, Feb. 7 from Sochi.

 

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