King: Russians Helped Make Olympics "Dangerous Situation"
There is no guarantee that U.S. athletes headed to Sochi Olympics are safe from terrorist attacks there, and Russian refusal to fully cooperate with U.S. officials is partly to blame, lawmakers said Sunday.
“These are gonna be very much threatened Olympics, probably more than anything we’ve had in the past,” said Rep. Peter King, (R-L.I.) he chairman of the House Counterterrorism and Intelligence subcommittee, said on ABC.
King and House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas), in separate appearances on political news shows Sunday, became the latest lawmakers to warn of danger at the winter games.
Appearing on CBS Sunday after visiting Sochi, McCaul called the security threat there "the greatest I think I've ever seen because of the proximity of the terrorists to the Olympic village."
A call by presumed Al Queda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, for "global jihad" against the Sochi games is a disturbing development, McCaul said.
Both King and McCaul said that Russian refusal to share intelligence on local terror groups is increasing danger for Olympica athletes and fans. The Russians are worried sharing information will give away intelligence methods, according to King.
"The Russians have not been cooperative,” he said.
McCaul said the Russians have added to the danger by declining to accept U.S. technology that can block signals used to activate improvised explosive devices.
"The one sense you get in Russia is a sense of nationalist pride," he said. "They do not want the U.S. to come in and tell them how to do security at their Olympic Games."
McCaul said a Russian "ring of steel" of thousands of security officials around most Olympic facilities is likely secure, but raised concerns terrorists could target soft targets elsewhere.
"I think we are gonna see more of these attacks but outside the perimeter," he said.
McCaul said canceling the Olympics should be considered if the security situation gets worse.
But, he said, "we should not scare people from attending the Olympics. It's a time-honored tradition. If we do not support our team and show up there, I think the terrorists are winning."
King said that by contrast the upcoming Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey represents “a model of cooperation by all levels of law enforcement.”
“I am confident everything that can be done is being done,” he said.
King noted this year’s will be the “first mass transit Super Bowl.”