Obama assured of safety precautions at Olympics

President Obama met with his national security team on Tuesday to discuss U.S. efforts to ensure the safety of American athletes and spectators at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

"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 White House said in a statement.

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Obama was joined in the meeting by, among others, 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, and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan.

The White House said Obama was assured by him team "that they are taking all appropriate steps regarding the safety of Americans."


"He directed them 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 White House said.

Last week, Obama warned during an interview with CNN that there was “always some risk involved” in attending large international events like the Olympics.

Asked what he would tell close friends worried about security at the event, Obama said he believed the Sochi games were “safe” but that he was "always going to feel even better inside the United States, because then we have full control over what happens."

Still, the president said Russian authorities understood the “potential threats” out there.

“As we've seen here in the United States and, you know, at the Boston Marathon, I mean there were — there were some risks if you have lone wolves ... or small cells of folks who are trying to do some damage,” Obama said.

Nevertheless, he encouraged fans and athletes to attend.

“So what I would say is is that if you want to go to the Olympics, you should go to the Olympics,” Obama said. “And, you know, we're not discouraging, in any way, Americans from participating in what is just always an amazing, wonderful event.”

Earlier this month, the White House said it had seen an "uptick in threat reporting" ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics, and had offered its "full support" to Russia in security preparations ahead of the games.

The U.S. has offered security assistance to Moscow, but White House press secretary Jay Carney has sidestepped questions about how much of that assistance had been accepted.

The Pentagon has stationed U.S. warships in the Black Sea as part of security preparations for the games.