Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., on Sunday said that he could not guarantee that American athletes and attendees at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia would be safe, calling it a “dangerous situation.”
“I cannot give them [a] 100-percent guarantee,” said King, who is chairman of the House subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence, in an interview with ABC's “This Week.” The fact is that these are going to be a very much threatened Olympics.”
The White House has offered Russia cooperation and the Pentagon is moving two Navy ships to provide assistance amid heightened worries that terrorists could strike the Sochi games. Fears intensified after recent suicide bomb attacks in Russia.
Lawmakers have publicly expressed concern that Russian officials are not fully cooperating with the U.S.
King said that while “everything is being done by the United States” he was dismayed by Russia’s response.
“Quite frankly, the Russians have not been cooperating with us or with other countries anywhere near the extent that, for instance, the Greeks or the Chinese or the Brits did,” he said of past Olympic games.
King said the suggestion that U.S. athletes not wear Team USA clothing outside of secured areas only highlighted the threat.
“I think it's an indicator of just how seriously our government takes this, the fact that there are real threats there,” said the New York lawmaker.
“Even though [Russian President Vladimir] Putin talks about the ring of steel around the main Olympic venue, the fact is once you get outside that venue or even going from venue to venue there is real vulnerability,” he added.
King said he would advise the athletes to do everything they are asked by the government and security officials to avoid becoming targets.
“I'm confident that everything that can be done is being done,” said King.
“I've been there, I've met with all the officials involved. There was total sharing, total cooperation,” he said of federal, state and local government efforts.
“To the extent that any athletic event can be safe, the Super Bowl will be,” said King. “It's really a model for cooperation with all levels of law enforcement.”