Some people have criticized President Obama not attending the Sochi Olympics. But under the current environment and possible credible threats of extremist attacks, the President probably does not need to be in potential harms way. Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will lead the Olympic delegation.
Meanwhile, the United States military will place to warships and several transport aircraft near the Sochi Olympic venue as part of a contingency plan if American officials and athletes are ordered to evacuate.
The official said the State Department would take the lead in organizing and evacuating Americans. The official declined to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the information.
The official emphasized the Russian government would have to give its approval for U.S. assets to enter Russia.
The ships and planes are “just in case the Russians ask for help,” the official said. But the assets, he said, are clearly there “if something happens like a major terrorist attack and we need to get Americans out.”
The plan calls for the warships to enter the Black Sea in the next few days. In a crisis the ships’ helicopters could fly quickly to Sochi and begin evacuating American officials. C-17 aircraft being put on standby in Germany could be on the scene in about two hours for additional evacuations. Other aircraft contracted to the State Department would also play a role.
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