► There have been several security developments in Russia as the Winter Olympic games are set to begin in Sochi February 6. The country’s anti-terror committee announced on Tuesday that Russian police have killed senior Muslim militant Eldar Magatov in a shootout in North Caucasus. Magatov was leader of an insurgent group in Dagestan and is suspected in “numerous attacks on Russian targets,” according to Reuters. Russia’s search for him was part of an “intensifying security clampdown” on terrorism threats ahead of the games. A video has also surfaced showing two men claiming to have carried out the suicide attack in Volograd that killed 34 people. They warn Russian president Vladimir Putin that more attacks will be carried out if the games proceed.
► As Russia increases its security efforts at home, U.S. officials are preparing to provide support to the country in the event of a security threat during the Olympic games. CNN reports that the “U.S. military will have up to two warships and several transport aircraft on standby under a contingency plan to help evacuate American officials and athletes from the Winter Olympics.” Additionally, “U.S. contingency planning calls for warships to launch helicopters to Sochi from the Black Sea," and "C-17 transport aircraft would be on standby in Germany and could be on the scene in about two hours,” according to the article. Moscow would give the go-ahead before the U.S. actually aided the nation with military force. In addition, the State Department has a plan in place to evacuate any Americans from Sochi should the need arise.
► U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is visiting the U.S.-Mexico border today and will be briefed on border security operations in South Texas, according to CBS News. A recent report from Border Patrol showed a 16 percent increase in arrests of illegal immigrants in 2013. The Border Patriol’s Rio Grande Valley sector on the southernmost tip of Texas has become “the busiest segment of the Southwest border for illegal immigration.” The article points out that President Barack Obama’s $1.1 trillion spending plan signed on Friday includes funding for 2,000 additional customs officers along the border.
► In other news, Human Rights Watch is criticizing the failure of international forces to intervene in the Syrian crisis. ♦ Protests in Bangkok have grown deadly just days ahead of the nation’s elections on February 2. ♦ And internal documents reveal that the Muslim Brotherhood received special screening privileges at JFK Airport from the State Department in early 2012.