U.S. Lacks Specific Plan to Evacuate Americans from Sochi

A worker leaves after painting the ice in the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi Saturday. A worker leaves after painting the ice in the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi Saturday. David J. Phillip/AP

The United States remains concerned about terror threats tied to the upcoming Olympic games, officials said Friday, but, so far, there isn't a Sochi-specific plan if evacuation is needed.

"There are no specific evacuations plans for the Olympics, per say, but… our commandant commanders have on the shelves American citizen evacuations plans...just as a general rule," a senior administration official said.

The Sochi Olympics, in Russia, are scheduled to begin on Feb. 7., but recent reports of possible terror threats -- including a report that the "white widow" could be in Sochi -- have raised security and safety concerns for athletes, diplomats, and the general public.

And so far, the Russian government has yet to ask for help from the United States, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said, adding that,"we discussed American assistance in anyway we can help the Russians. As of right now the Russians have not requested any specific assistance or technology."

A senior administration official said that the Russian government also hasn't put in a "formal request for counter-IED technology" in regard to the Olympics, adding that "no offer made of that technology and assistance."

Government officials from both countries have discussed counterterrorism measures, but a senior administration official said that predates discussions about the Olympics.

"We have been talking to the Russians about the regional security concerns we have, these are long-standing concerns," the official said.

But Hagel remained confident that, if needed, the United States will be able to get Americans out of the country, saying U.S. officials "will have appropriate arrangements with the Russians to do that."

It is unclear if that means U.S. officials -- either through the State or Defense Departments -- would enter Russia to remove U.S. citizens, or rely on assistance from the Russian government.

The State Department takes the lead on deciding how to evacuate U.S. citizens when necessary, and officials stressed that at this point they are focused on "prudent planning… just in case we're called."

The United States is also sending two ships into the Black Sea; they have yet to arrive.

As for security threats, officials say they both expected for terror threats to pop up, and expect more as the Olympics draw nearer.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.