Ex-CIA official warns of Olympic dangers

Former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morrell said Monday the upcoming Sochi Olympics are “the most dangerous” he’s experienced.

“I think these are the most dangerous Olympics I’ve experienced in my adult life,” Morrell said on “CBS This Morning.”

Morrell works as a contributor for the network. He resigned from the CIA last June, and had served as deputy director since 2010, serving as acting director twice. 

Host Charlie Rose asked Morrell why Americans should be just as concerned.

“You have a capable, dedicated, determined terrorist group that has been around for a long time, that recently conducted two attacks in Russia, who say that they want to attack during the games,” he said.

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Russian authorities have been working to bolster security in Sochi since two consecutive suicide bombings killed civilians in Volgograd last month. The city is located about 400 miles from Sochi and 500 miles from Moscow. 

Morrell said Sochi itself is “fairly safe,” but warned that a venue outside could be vulnerable during the Olympics. 

“I’d worry about airports elsewhere in Russia, I’d worry about Western hotels elsewhere in Russia, that’s where I’d put my focus.”

The State Department last week updated its travel alert for Americans planning to attend the Sochi games since terrorist threats have become pronounced. Rose asked Morrell what advice he’d give to Americans who will still go.

“I would go. I would take my family. I would be very careful. I would be very aware of my surroundings,” he said. “If somebody put a package down or a backpack down, I’d walk away from it as fast as I could. I’d also inform a security personnel. I’d also watch people’s behavior.”

Morrell’s comments on Monday reflected what House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) said on Sunday.

“I would say that the security threat to this particular Olympics are the greatest I think I've ever seen because of the proximity of the terrorists to the Olympic Village,” McCaul said on CBS’s "Face the Nation."

McCaul toured the Olympic village at Sochi last week. In the interview, McCaul said the current threats aren’t at the level of canceling the games, but that option should remain on the table.

“If this thing gets worse, maybe we would consider that.”