The United States is considering sharing sophisticated electronic devices capable of detecting remote-controlled bombs with Russia during the Sochi Olympics, senior military officials told NBC News.
According to one senior official, the issue was raised formally only Tuesday afternoon during high-level discussions in Brussels, Belgium.
Natalya Vasilyeva / AP
A photo of a police leaflet seen in a Sochi hotel on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, depicting Dzhannet Tsakhayeva, right, and Zaira Aliyeva. Russian security officials are hunting down three potential female suicide bombers, one of whom is believed to be in Sochi, where the Winter Olympics will begin next month.
Military officials said the possibility was raised by the Russian military Chief of Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov in discussions on Tuesday with U.S. Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey during their first face-to-face meeting.
"The Russian brought it up," according to one official who said the Russians are interested in obtaining some of the advance electronics that the U.S. has developed to detect roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Dempsey was reported to be "receptive" to the idea.
In a phone call Tuesday, President Barack Obama offered Russian President Vladimir Putin “full assistance” with security needs for the Olympics.
According to officials, the two sides would first have to determine the compatibility of U.S. and Russian technologies and whether the detection systems could be used effectively.
Russia has been aggressive in combating terrorism in the days leading up to the Winter Games, especially in the volatile Caucus region to the east of Sochi where an Islamic insurgency is simmering.
Russian security forces were hunting two “black widow” suspects on Tuesday -- women they believe are planning to target the final stages of the Olympic torch relay with suicide bomb attacks.
It was unclear if the U.S. detection devices could spot suicide vests.
"Right now this is at the big idea level, a lot of details would have be worked out" said one official.
But because of the short time frame between now and the Olympics there is a sense of urgency in determining whether sharing this technology is even feasible, the official noted.
The Opening Ceremonies for the Sochi Winter Olympic Games are Feb. 7.
Jeff Black of NBC News contributed to this report.