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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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February 5th, 2014
05:58 PM ET

Analysis on Sochi security: There's always going to be risk in large crowds

(CNN) - Security at the Sochi Olympics has been a big issue. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN that Americans travelling to the Olympics can be as safe as expected at a very large sporting event, which happens to be taking place near a war where there are many terrorist threats.

"There's always going to be risk attached to large crowds, regardless of whether the Olympics are in Sochi or in Atlanta, as we sadly remember," The New York Times' Mark Landler said.

"The difference here is the proximity of Sochi to the Caucasus, which is a sort of a hotbed of Islamic militancy and a place where in a number of these Caucasus republics they're actually fighting a low-grade civil war," said Landler.

Many counterterrorism experts said it would be more likely that a terrorist attack would take place somewhere adjacent to the Sochi Olympics, maybe 100 – 250 miles away, said Landler.

"It would certainly rattle everybody and throw a pretty long shadow over the Game," said Landler.

"This is part of a bigger issue. I think there's a resurgence also of al Qaeda. I mean, the United States hasn't paid that much attention to those kind of extremists because they haven't targeted us, which of course al Aaeda did," said former State Department Middle East specialist Michele Dunne.

"What's gone on in Syria or elsewhere in the Middle East, in Egypt, for example, we're seeing a real resurgence of Islamic extremism and of groups affiliated to al Qaeda, and that could pose a danger to Americans as well," said Dunne.

For more of this discussion, click on the video above.

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