Sochi's Powerful Security Discreetly Camouflaged

PHOTO: Russian police patrol with their dogs inside the Olympic Park as preparations continue for the 2014 Winter Olympics, Jan. 29, 2014, in Sochi.
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At first glance, it looks like another mound of sticks and leaves on the hillside. But a flicker of movement betrays it true identity: a camouflaged army tent guarding the highway from Sochi to the mountains.

Once you spot one, the others are easier to find. They dot the forest every few hundred yards along the new $8.7 billion highway connecting the stadiums along the coast and the Olympic skiing and sledding venues in the mountains.

It's just one of several layers of hidden security deployed to guard the Winter Olympics against terrorism.

Missile batteries poke out from behind camouflage nets in the hills above the Olympic Park. Soldiers stand guard inside tents masked with fake leaves and branches in the mountains. Navy speedboats patrol the coast. Plainclothes police officers mingle among the crowd. Closed circuit security cameras are everywhere. An electronic surveillance program monitors all cell phone and internet activity.

Russian security officials have promised a "ring of steel" to safeguard the Sochi Winter Olympics. Putin has ordered tens of thousands of extra troops and police to help secure the Olympics. Judging by the number of times ABC News was asked to stop filming or asked to show identification, it is clear that Russian authorities are taking security very seriously.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos this month that security in Sochi would be tight, but not "in your face." It appears that in this he has succeeded.

In downtown Sochi, an hour away from the Olympic stadiums, dozens of police guarded what will be the official Olympic fan zone. But there is more security there than meets the eye. ABC News was asked to stop filming there by a pair of plainclothes officers who flashed their badges, identifying themselves as officers of the Federal Security Service, a successor to the Soviet KGB.

In the nearby harbor, a pair of discrete Navy speedboats bob next to a large Coast Guard ship. Near the city of Adler, where the games will actually take place, ABC News observed armed Navy speedboats patrolling the coastline. Another Navy ship, called the Seliger, was anchored farther out in the Black Sea. The ship was commissioned just over a year ago as a research vessel and reports at the time described its ability to detect objects underwater.

Entering the Olympic Park is an extremely controlled process. Visitors are only allowed in with a valid ticket or Olympic pass. They'll pass through several layers of security, involving X-ray machines, bag checks, and likely a thorough pat down. A tethered surveillance blimp hovers overhead. All vehicles entering the park are searched.

But Russian authorities have far more firepower waiting in the wings.

Hidden in the hills above the Olympic zone, under an olive drab sheet, is a small military base. Radar systems and what appear to be vehicle-mounted air defense systems are visible sticking out over the walls.

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