Republican congressional leaders aired concerns about security at the Winter Olympics on Sunday morning, opening up the day’s talk show cycle with warnings about safety in Sochi as athletes there finished their second day of competition.
“I’ve never seen a greater threat in my lifetime,” said Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Tex.) on Fox News Sunday of the Olympic games. In December, terrorists detonated two bombs a few hundred miles from Sochi in Volgograd, Russia, killing dozens. “We’ve already had two suicide bombers go off outside the Olympic Village,” McCaul said.
McCaul, who is the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, continued: “What poses the greatest threat, in my opinion, is the proximity and the location of where these games are being held… It’s a whole new ball game, makes these Olympics very very different… I think there’s a high degree of probability that something will detonate, something will go off.”
There have been a host of security alerts at Sochi, and militant Islamists seeking to carve a religious state out of southern Russia have promised to attack the Olympic games. Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded by spending $2 billion in security at the games and deploying 40,000 troops around Sochi.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) praised Russia’s extensive security measures at the Sochi games. “The guards, gates and guns portion of this is unparalleled for an Olympic Games,” he said on ABC’s This Week. Security in Sochi “as good as I’ve seen it.” But he said terrorists still had the capability to strike the Games — not necessarily attacking Olympic venue, but staging a “disruptive event” nearby. “They’re going to find the weakest point they can find,” he said.
There have not been any attacks since the games began, and no immediate security threats.
But Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) warned that officials shouldn’t be less vigilant until the games are over on Feb. 23. “So far, so good,” the chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence said on CBS’s Face the Nation. “Still, I believe it’s a dangerous situation… The worst thing that we can do in any way is anyone let their guard down.”
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