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US Warships Arrive in Black Sea to Keep an Eye on Sochi Olympics

BY DAVID TRIFUNOV / GlobalPost


The USS Mount Whitney and USS Taylor sailed into the Black Sea as American authorities warned of 'specific threats' against the 2014 Winter Games. Two United States warships were headed to the Black Sea just two days before the Winter Olympics were set to begin in Sochi, Russia.

WhitneyThe USS Mount Whitney sailed into the Black Sea, and the USS Taylor was slated to arrive later on Wednesday, NBC News reported.

Pentagon officials told NBC the ships would act as support vehicles for American security operations there.

The Whitney was constructed for communications. If the National Security Agency were to build a boat, the Whitney might be it.

The Taylor packs more of a physical punch as a guided missile frigate.

On Tuesday, the National Counterterrorism Center director told Congress that US and Russian authorities were tracking “a number of specific threats” aimed at Sochi.

According to the Whitney’s website, its “communications capability is second to none.”

Matthew Olsen said the greatest threat resides outside Sochi, coming from extremists in the nearby Caucasus.

HackersThe United States added to the watch list on Wednesday, saying “hacktivists” might use the Winter Games to further their causes. According to a tip sheet issued by the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team, anyone watching the Olympics online or live should safeguard their communications and only visit "trusted websites."

“For example, the hacktivist group, Anonymous Caucasus, has launched what appears to be a threat against any company that finances or supports the Winter Games,” CERT said.

It also suggested that anyone in Sochi with a smartphone should assume their communications might be monitored.

Athletes were also asked to take precautions in Russia.

In late January, US officials told athletes to remain inside the Olympic security areas. If they did leave, officials told athletes to leave their Team USA clothing behind.

“If you are an American Olympic athlete, you don’t want to advertise that far outside the Olympic venues,” a State Department official said, according to CNN.

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Comments

  1. That statement from the United States is really rich, considering that we now know that the United States government has been spreading malware for years, and carryout denial of service attacks against IRC chat rooms and websites if it doesn't approve of the content. They are the biggest threat to the internet we've ever known.

    Posted by: Eric | Feb 6, 2014 8:11:45 AM


  2. The Russians are doing a good enough job terrorizing the games as it is, anything else would just be icing on the cake.

    Posted by: anon | Feb 6, 2014 9:17:20 AM


  3. #fearmongering

    Posted by: jim | Feb 6, 2014 9:51:15 AM


  4. It's not fearmongering at all.

    Russia has some pretty devoted enemies, just as devoted as the Libyans and other Arabs were back during the Munich massacre.

    The venue isn't even finished yet, there are workers crawling all over the place trying to get construction finished on time. Are you going to stake YOUR life on the obviously idiotic assumption that there are no infiltrators, no sympathizers already there ?

    The vectors for attack are more numerous than back during the Munich massacre. With the plethora of internet and wireless devices and insecure communications any number of possible routes of monitoring and attack exist.

    The comments here so far are beyond stupid. Sochi is not a safe place in ANY way. Soon it will be flooded with hundreds of thousands more people, massive crowds that will be essentially impossible to entirely secure.

    If nothing happens it will literally be a miracle.

    Posted by: Just Sayin' | Feb 6, 2014 12:04:18 PM


  5. This isn't fearmongering, this is just one of those reasons that Sochi was a horrible idea from day 1. They never should have gotten the Olympics for a whole host of reasons, but the fact that Sochi is practically right next to a war zone is chief among them. It simply isn't safe there for anyone, never mind an international event which has historically attracted the attention of violent fanatics.

    Posted by: Ryan | Feb 6, 2014 12:45:01 PM


  6. And what will the fleet do there? They're there more likely because of the situation in Ukraine.

    Posted by: Victor | Feb 6, 2014 12:58:49 PM


  7. @Victor: one ship has all the spy gear and the other has a bunch of missiles to protect the ship with the spy gear.

    That's the simplified version. If someone manages to disable the Russian's communications network, one of those ships might be able to help restore communications for U.S. representatives in Sochi.

    Posted by: Bill | Feb 6, 2014 2:23:18 PM


  8. Do they have any spare doorknobs or light fixtures?

    Posted by: Randy | Feb 6, 2014 5:02:45 PM


  9. @Bill, if someone manages to disable Russia's communications network, I'm sure Russia will ask for international help. Just like they asked with that school taken hostage. Or just like they asked for help with their sunken submarine "Kursk." Or just like they asked numerous other times...

    Meanwhile, Russia has not even asked American ships to enter any of its ports. And Russia's news sources keep reminding readers that according to a treaty about this, the US ships have only 21 days in the Black Sea. Then they have to leave.

    Posted by: Victor | Feb 6, 2014 6:16:45 PM


  10. @Victor: international help takes time. While the ship might be used to help the Russians if asked, it there was any disruption, communications with U.S. personnel could be maintained.

    In addition, the NSA is probably using that ship to listen in on cell-phone traffic and other radio-based communication in Sochi in case anyone is up to no good and posing a threat to the U.S. contingent. They could have an agreement with the Russians to share information if they detect a threat, but that would not be something either side would talk about publicly.

    Posted by: Bill | Feb 6, 2014 6:26:48 PM


  11. What an amazing ship. Go Navy!!!

    Posted by: andrew | Feb 6, 2014 7:08:55 PM


  12. They launched a threat to any company who financed or supports the games? That would be kind of poetic justice... Hit them where it counts. In the wallet.

    Posted by: Graphicjack | Feb 6, 2014 9:35:12 PM


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