Terrorism threat concerns former Secret Service agent - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Terrorism threat concerns former Secret Service agent

Greg Gitschier Greg Gitschier
Greg Gitschier in London for the Summer Games. (Source: Greg Gitschier) Greg Gitschier in London for the Summer Games. (Source: Greg Gitschier)
Greg Gitschier in Vancover for the 2010 Olympics. (Source: Greg Gitschier) Greg Gitschier in Vancover for the 2010 Olympics. (Source: Greg Gitschier)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - He graduated from the old Westport High School in Louisville and served more than 20 years with the United States Secret Service. Greg Gitschier has worked Olympic security since the 80's in Los Angeles, but he says he's heading to Russia with a completely different Olympic perspective

During past Olympics Gitschier was all smiles in London and enjoyed the snow in Vancover, but in Sochi he is bringing a different attitude with a focus on providing high level security after rumors of high threats of terrorism at the Winter Games.

"Everyone feels like something's gonna happen.We just don't know when or where," he said.

It has already happened nearby. In Volgograd, located north of Sochi, a bombing killed 34 people.

Chechen rebels have been fighting Russian control for many years all over the region. With Sochi picked to host the Winter Games several years ago there has been plenty of time to embed terrorists in key locations. And no outside nations brought in to share intelligence.

"I think the Russians, I mean they got big egos, they want to handle this. This is their deal and from what I'm seeing they're not asking for a lot of help around the country which would concern me," Gitschier said.

The thought of a terrorist attack concerns Gitschier so much when asked if he would have his family come visit him in Russia he said, "Absolutely not."

Gitschier's not alone, many athletes are making the same call.

"And they're actually saying mom and dad I'd rather you not be there for this or don't wear your American colors in public, take that for what it's worth. That's pretty strong," he said. "I won't be wearing anything that identifies me as U.S.A. and I'm certainly going to suggest my team do the same."

Gitschier says they will try to blend in with hundreds of thousands of people converging on Sochi. Not just athletes and spectators all kinds of delivery personnel too around the clock.

"It's very tough to vet every person who's coming through, day in and day out, midnight, 3 a.m., 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Are they really who they say they are?"

As with any high profile event Gitschier says the most important works already done, the advance work before the games.

"We're just counting on the Russians. Hopefully they've done their job - and they said they've done their job. We're obviously taking them for their word," he said.

And this retired secret service agent will have some top notch help in case something does go wrong, "Military guys, American guys as well on different assignments. So it's just not, ya know, a bunch of old Secret Service guys," he said.

Gitschier says when someone is willing to strap bombs to their bodies and try to get into the games there is not much security can do. But hopes are intense security will keep any terrorist activity far from the Olympic action.

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