Suicide bomber may already be at Olympics, US tourists staying away

American tourists are apparently staying away from the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia as new reports warn that a female suicide bomber may already have slipped through Russian Olympic security.

Security experts were not impressed.

Christopher Swift, a national security expert at Georgetown University, told ABC that “the fact that one individual either was able to stay in the area before the ring of steel went up or get through it really raises questions about the strength of the Russia security apparatus.” Swift added that “the specific worry is that she’s a woman and because of that it’s easier for women to infiltrate indoor or outdoor venues, that she could be a bomb carrier.”

The news of the potentially worsening security situation at Sochi comes on the heels of yesterday’s warning to Americans from US Senator Angus King (I-ME) to stay away from the Olympics. King, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, doesn’t think it’s safe to go.

Just as ominous, the US Defense Department announced that it will have two ships, and aircraft, available should Americans officials and athletes need to be evacuated from Sochi due to a terrorist attack.  American tourists will be left to fend for themselves.

That is, if American tourists show up at all.  CBS is reporting that American bookings to the Olympics are way down below normal.

Travel agents are seeing a steep decline in bookings over past Olympics. One agent told CBS News she has fewer than 50 clients going to Sochi. In comparison, she booked 250 for the Vancouver Winter Olympics and 350 for Beijing.

Another sign of disinterest: Tickets to events are still available. Normally, they sell out months ahead of time.

The Sochi Olympics are beginning to sound like Westworld.

Putin-Westworld-Sochi-new

Graphic by John Aravosis, Putin’s face via Shutterstock (Mark III Photonics / Shutterstock.com).


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • DCM70508

    Sign the new Change.org petition being sent to NBC and the International Olympic Committee called the “Top Ten Reasons Why We Won’t Be Watching the 2014 Sochi Olympics”. Let them know we won’t support corporations and organizations that put money and profits before people and human rights. http://www.change.org/petitions/nbc-here-are-the-top-ten-reasons-why-we-won-t-be-watching-the-2014-sochi-olympics

  • http://hunteratrandom.blogspot.com/ rmthunter

    IOC, like any other group of oligarchs, doesn’t need to learn — it’s the rest of us who have to rearrange our thinking to fit their conception of the universe. Just ask them.

  • Joe Bosse

    One should be ashamed to equate a brilliant take on modern society and ah wait… nevermind.

  • Butch1

    Wonderful . . . One can only hope they catch her before she causes any loss of life.

  • Bubbles

    Personally, I think they should down size, and go back to non-professionals.

  • Bubbles

    I was in South Korea when the award went to Russia. South Korean English language station Arrirang had a special show for the annoucement, fully expecting to get the nod, only to be shocked that it went to Russia. This happened as a result of Putin interceding. And it was controversial. The show lasted only 5 minutes then they went to tape.

    I think the development of Sochi as a resort, both summer and winter is important for Russia, the timing was very premature for the Olympics and very controversial.

    I also think the choice of London (over Paris) was a mistake, as was Rio (not as big of a mistake, but, I’d had prefered BA in South America).

  • judybrowni

    Fuck ‘em, but I will miss the ice dancing this year.

    (The gayest event of any winter Olympics — outside the opening and closing ceremonies. But I’m afraid I couldn’t enjoy the usual camp of those events, while they’re concentration camps.)

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Heh, yeah, Americans are so great at planning ahead. :) I know if it were me, I’d have tickets for the ferry to Turkey in my pocket at all times. Not the best solution, but to me at the first sign of trouble, getting the hell out of Russia would be my priority. Not that I would have wasted my time and money attending such a overrated extravagance in the first place. When I travel, I generally make a point of avoiding places holding large events.

  • Indigo

    I’m confident we can assume that the Americans who went to Sochi are smart enough to have all that figured out well in advance. Ya think? :-)

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Even with an ‘unstable lunatic’ at their northern border, South Korea is still far more secure than the Caucasus region. Pyeongchang has already been chosen to host the 2018 Winter Games. I wonder if Lilest Kim will demand to co-host like they did last time South Korea hosted.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    They really will be left to fend for themselves. There’s no consular facilities in Sochi. They said they’re setting up a satellite office, but it will most likely only be a temporary facility for very basic services. So if Americans need the protection and assistance of of an embassy, they will have to somehow find their way back to Moscow. ~20 hours driving, over a day by train. If there’s a major incident, it’s going to be mass chaos, without many options for getting away from it if public transportation is restricted or impeded.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    They should have moved the Games the second Russia went to war with Georgia. It was not even six months after Sochi was awarded the Olympics, back in 2008. Not that the region didn’t already have plenty of tension before that.

  • Monophylos Fortikos

    The IOC really owns this one now. They’ve had plenty of opportunity to move the Games to a safer location and multiple reasons to justify the decision, but they’ve doubled down on their support of the Sochi decision.

  • Ninja0980

    And of course,the LGBT community is being blamed on sites like the Washington Times for Russia not willing to cooperate more with the U.S. due to the delegation we’re sending over in response to their laws.

  • http://heimaey.us/ heimaey

    This is going to be a disaster. I hope no one dies.

  • MyrddinWilt

    The Olympics are awarded six years in advance which would mean 2008. China had the 2008 summer olympics and the 2012 olympics had been awarded to London. Pretty much everyone was peeved by Bush’s criminal invasion of Iraq, the incompetence of which was apparent to everyone except Doofus himself and his mom.

    The alternatives were South Korea and Austria. Russia won narrowly. Which is hardly surprising. Europe gets far more than its fair share of winter olympics. So it was pretty much a toss up between two countries with unstable lunatics on their borders.

    The olympics are estimated to be costing $50 billion of which some say over half is being embezzled by Putin and his cronies.

  • ronbo

    There is no limit to corporatist greed,

  • charlie-imac

    IOC doesn’t learn read about Hitler hosting the Olympics.

  • ronbo

    If the IOC doesn’t learn from this, then it’s time is over. Athletes deserve more than their sins of greed, corruption, pride and moral bribery,

  • Indigo

    NBC sports news people will be on location to report on developments. Stay home and boycott NBC Olympic coverage. As for Americans on location, our government has it all neatly covered, “American tourists will be left to fend for themselves.” It’s that easy. God bless America!

  • MyrddinWilt

    The Russian counter-terrorism forces are notoriously bad. Over 300 dead hostages in the Beslan incident. Not that the US federal govt. has a great record.

  • dcinsider

    Seems a shame that a nice guy like Putin might be so thoroughly humiliated by having the most unsuccessful Olympics of the modern era.

  • Ninja0980

    Between the terrorists and the crackdown on not just LGBT people but virtually all forms of free press and dissent,why would anyone want to risk their safety?

  • mwdavis

    I’ve been following the Ukraine story on BBC, which has a lot more in depth and nuanced coverage than American media. Lavrov’s warning that the situation is getting “out of control” and assertion that it is being stirred up by outside [e.g., European and American] forces is unsettling. I wouldn’t put it past Yanukovych to supplement the new anti-protest laws with some Russian “assistance.” To my mind, it’s one of the most “fraught” situations going on right now . . .

  • FLL

    There are still bad memories in Ukraine of Stalin’s mass murder of millions of Ukrainian peasants in the 1930s through intentional starvation. I think that will continue to push Ukraine toward the West rather than Russia.

  • mwdavis

    Russia seems like a very unsafe country for anyone to be visiting these days. Looks like there’s some saber-rattling starting up about Ukraine as well. Not a good idea to go.

  • FLL

    The terrorist attack at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich took the world by surprise. At least this time, the world has advance warning.

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