Sochi alert: Toothpaste bombs on flights

The Department of Homeland Security is warning some flights to Russia to look out for toothpaste and cosmetic tubes that could contain materials to construct a bomb, an official confirmed.

The warning Wednesday, which the DHS described as a "routine communication," is going out to U.S. flights flying directly to Russia and some foreign flights, according to reports.

A DHS official released a statement saying it is not aware of a "specific threat to the homeland" at this time, and it regularly shares information with domestic and international partners.

ADVERTISEMENT
"Out of an abundance of caution, DHS regularly shares relevant information with domestic and international partners, including those associated with international events such as the Sochi Olympics," the DHS official said.

The official added: "While we are not aware of a specific threat to the homeland at this time, this routine communication is an important part of our commitment to making sure we meet that priority. As always, our security apparatus includes a number of measures, both seen and unseen, and DHS will continue to adjust security measures to fit an ever evolving threat environment."

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), a member of the Homeland Security Committee, said he could not go into detail about what he has been briefed on, but said the warning is something people should be concerned about. He said intelligence officials are working around the clock on potential threats.

“This is the type of threat, though, that we are very concerned about," he said on CNN. "Americans should take it very seriously. The airline should take it seriously. Obviously the Olympics should take it seriously.”

King said he has some confidence in the Russian government but not enough. He said the country had not been forthcoming in sharing intelligence with the United States about what is happening there.

He asserted the level of cooperation with Russia has not been analogous to past Olympics that were held in England, China or Greece.

He said U.S. citizens attending the Sochi Games remained “reasonably” safe. He said the odds of an attack remain slim, but they are higher than any past Winter Olympics.

“I would say they are reasonably safe, but I would not go myself,” he said.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who headed the Winter Olympics in Utah in 2002, said this is the type of threat that begs for more information.

Nonetheless, he said he would still feel comfortable attending the games, which kick off Thursday. He said his schedule would not allow it, however.