Some U.S. intelligence has suggested that the tubes might hold ingredients that might be used to build a bomb on a plane, said a U.S. official on Thursday.
The U.S. official would not provide any other details about those warnings or what intelligence had prompted the warnings.
A source in law enforcement said the intelligence was intended largely for the foreign airlines and the threat, which is generic in nature, was not directed at the U.S. The government of Russia was informed, said the government source.
Representative Peter King, the Homeland Security Committee’s Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee’s chairman in the House of Representatives said he was briefed on the same threat and said American travelers should take it very seriously as well as the airlines and the Olympic Games officials.
King said any form of explosive, concealed or not, could be extremely damaging. It could do enough to bring a plane down and is a concern everyone should be concerned with.
Another source in the federal government said the warning was linked to two women being arrested in France on Tuesday. The two reportedly are 23 and 30 and were Chechen descent.
Security for the Olympic Games in Sochi had been very high for the last few months due to threats posed to the games from Islamic Militants across the region. In January, authorities from Russia announced that no liquids would be allowed on any planes in Sochi.
Sochi is a resort town on the shore of the Red Sea only 300 miles from the North Caucasus the heartland of Russia’s Islamic militancy.
The insurgent’s leader Doku Umarov known to some as the Osama bin Laden of Russia told followers this past summer they should do all they could to disrupt the Olympics, which he said were a satanic dance on their ancestors bones.
Over the last three months, Russians have suffered through three suicide bombings across cities in the south. The bombings have been attributed to the same militants.