Policy: National Security

Obama gets Situation Room briefing on Sochi security

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Politics,Sports,White House,Olympics,Barack Obama,Russia,National Security,PennAve,Terrorism,Meghashyam Mali

President Obama on Tuesday received a briefing in the Situation Room from top security officials on U.S. efforts to protect athletes and attendees at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

“Today the President convened a meeting in the White House Situation Room to receive an update from his team on the U.S. government's efforts to support security for the Olympic Games in Sochi,” said the White House in a statement. The meeting was not on Obama's public schedule.

“The President was briefed on the security environment, our cooperation with Russian authorities, and on the full range of U.S. government support for our athletes, delegation, and Americans attending the Olympics,” the statement continued. “He was assured by his team that they are taking all appropriate steps regarding the safety of Americans.”

Among those joining the president for the briefing were Vice President Joe Biden, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan, FBI Director James Comey, Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey, along with other senior officials.

The White House said Obama directed his team “to continue to work closely with the Russian government and other partners toward a secure and successful Sochi games, and to review carefully and act on any new information that might affect the security of the Games.”

The statement added that the U.S. has offered “full support and cooperation” to Russia and highlighted that Moscow was “responsible for the Games.”

Concerns over a terror threat to the Olympics to be held later this month in Russia have grown after a number of suicide bomb attacks by Islamic groups seeking greater autonomy from Moscow.

The U.S. has offered Russia security assistance, but top lawmakers have complained that Russian officials are not fully cooperating with Washington and have failed to share some intelligence on likely threats.

President Obama in an interview last week said he believed the Sochi games would be “safe” but cautioned that risks remained and that Americans should be alert.

“There are always some risks in these large, international gatherings,” Obama told CNN's Jake Tapper. “The Russian authorities understand the stakes here. They understand that there are potential threats that are out there and we are coordinating with them.

“We're not discouraging in any way Americans from participating,” said the president.

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