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TODAY   |  January 22, 2014

Olympic delegations receive threatening letters

Delegations in some countries, including Hungary, have reported receiving letters warning that Sochi, the location for the upcoming Olympic Winter games, is not safe. The U.S. continues to take precautions to protect Americans at the event. NBC’s chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel reports.

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another day and another threat to the winter olympic games . several delegations have reportedly received letters vowing terror attacks and to keep their teams at home. nbc's richard engel has made his way to sochi . richard, good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning, matt. nbc has confirmed that at least two delegations, hungary and germany, have received these threatening letters. they came in english by email. they are somewhat general saying that the athletes should stay away from the games. they are not however considered credible. no one here is in a panic about them. in fact olympic officials are saying that they may have been sent by a private individual. that doesn't mean however that there are not concerns and they're not being taken seriously.

>> reporter: u.s. officials say the terror threat in sochi is the highest of any olympics. yet russia isn't cooperating much with the u.s. about it. vladamir putin , president and former kgb chief has said russiaq can handle it.

>> certainly, vladamir putin 's past history, the long cold war history between the u.s. and russia , make any likelihood of requests, either before the games, or catastrophically, after an event, far, far less likely in this case.

but the u.s. is taking some precautions on its own. a small number of fbi and state department security officials will be on hand. mostly to protect the american delegation . and two u.s. warships will be positioned in the black sea in case americans need to be evacuated. but experts doubt russia would ever ask them to intervene.

>> there's too much bad blood, too much mistrust between the security services for them to link arms and say we're going to work on this together.

>> reporter: but that may be changing. russia 's top general ask joint chief martin dempsey for sophisticated electronic sensors from the u.s. to detect remote -controlled bombs in sochi . if they are sent, u.s. military personnel would have to go along with them. the terror threat in russia comes mainly from the caucuses, from suicide bombers , including women known as black widows . russia is on the hunt for at least five suspected bombers, two men and three black widows . yet, most u.s. team members like snowboarder kelly clark say they're not worried.

>> i'm not worried about any safety issues in russia at this point. and, you know, we're so focused on our competition and on our sport --

>> president obama and vladamir putin have spoken by phone. they did, we are told, discuss security. very few details about that phone call have been released. but what we could be seeing now is an evolution of the russian position. since the beginning russia has said that these games are totally safe. putin, in fact, promised that they'd be the safest games ever. now however we are seeing something of a recognition that russia might need help. and here inside the ring of steel, this is the secure area where the main stadiums are located, security is very tight. every person and every bag that comes in here is inspected. matt?