SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - Just two weeks away from the 2014 winter Olympics and tonight new information on the mounting terrorist threats in Sochi. U.S. athletes get a warning about their newly unveiled uniforms and the pentagon announces a potential exit strategy for U.S. citizens.
Even with Russia’s “ring of steel” around Sochi it hasn’t been enough to stop serious concerns about safety from terrorist attacks.
Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary said, “We have seen an uptick in threat reporting prior to the Olympics, which is of course of concern, although it is not unusual for a major international event."
What is unusual are the recent announcements from the pentagon and the U.S. state department. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, again Friday, spoke about the United State's plans of an exit strategy in case of a terrorist attack.
"If we need to extract our citizens, we will have appropriate arrangements with the Russians to do that,” said Hagel.
Those arrangements include two navy warships set and ready to go in the Black Sea; an arrangement national security expert Tom Panuzio says is unprecedented.
"To have those two warships so close because the entire Russian leadership will be there, to have them so close, would be the equivalent of having a Russian warship off the coast of Virginia during the State of the Union,” explained Panuzio.
U.S. athletes also getting a warning about their newly unveiled uniforms; they're being cautioned they will be safer not wearing them when they venture out of the "ring of steel" security perimeter.
Panuzio said, "For the state department to have to put this out means there's significant chatter and the intelligence agencies are picking up specific targets that will be American citizens or U.S. athletes wearing an American flag."
For the U.S. Women's ski jump team, who for the first time will be allowed to enter the Olympic event, they say they have no intention of letting the terror threats distract them.
Olympic Ski Jumper Jessica Jerome said, "I know that the U.S. ski team and the USOC and all of these involved entities are working closely with the Russian government to ensure all of the safety of the athletes. I think I speak for all of us when I say we trust that they're doing everything they can."