Fri, Jan 24, 2014 - Page 18 News List

IOC dismisses the latest Sochi Winter Games terror scare

AFP, LAUSANNE, Switzerland

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has dismissed the latest perceived terror scare to the Sochi Winter Olympics after several Olympic Committees said that they had received a suspicious e-mail on Wednesday.

Federations from the US, Britain, Italy, Germany, Hungary and Slovenia were among those that indicated they had received e-mails or letters with similar content, which were passed to IOC security advisers for inspection.

“We have been in close contact with Sochi 2014 on this matter and our line is as follows — the IOC takes security very seriously and passes on any credible information to the relevant security services,” the IOC said. “However, in this case it seems like the e-mail sent to a number of NOCs [National Olympic Committees] contains no threat and appears to be a random message from a member of the public.”

US Olympic Committee chief executive Scott Blackmun said his group had received the message and forwarded it to law-enforcement agencies.

“The safety and security of Team USA is our top priority,” Blackmun said in a statement. “As is always the case, we are working with the US Department of State, the local organizers and the relevant law enforcement agencies in an effort to ensure that our delegation and other Americans traveling to Sochi are safe.”

In Britain, British Olympic Association director of communications Darryl Seibel confirmed that the association had received a suspicious e-mail, but had been told by the IOC that there was “nothing of substance” to it.

“In addition we have had our own experts take a look at this and they have responded in exactly the same way by stating that this is nothing credible,” Seibel said. “Organizations like ours receive correspondence of every type and it is not uncommon to come across something like this that lacks credibility.”

The Sochi resort in Russia is at the foot of the Caucasus mountains. Islamist insurgents based in North Caucasus republics, such as Dagestan, are seeking their own independent state and have vowed to disrupt the Games in an effort to undermine Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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