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POLITICS: PennAve

Rep. Michael McCaul: Terrorist attacks at Olympic games a real threat

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The head of the House Homeland Security Committee says that while next month's Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, will be the most secure in history, he fears a terrorist attack is likely.

Russians increased security at the Olympic site after suicide bombings at train and bus stations last month in Volgograd, about 400 miles from Sochi, killed more than 30 people. But Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said Moscow's ongoing battle with Islamist insurgents in the Caucasus region, who have taken credit for the December bombings, will be difficult to contain at the two-week competition.

"I think what we're going to see are more explosions like we saw at the train station and the bus," McCaul told CNN's "New Day" program Wednesday. "There are softer targets outside of the perimeter that are close to the Olympic Village where they can make the same statement."

"You see the leader of this extremist group, the bin Laden of the Caucasus, if you will, calling for attacks on the Olympics, and I think that is the great concern that we have."

Despite Russia deploying tens of thousands of security officials in a "ring of steel" around the Olympic site, officials worry that "black widow" female terrorists, so-called because some seek to avenge the deaths of their husbands who were killed by Russian authorities, may be able to slip past security measures to launch attacks.

"The problem is, how many of these black widows, if you will, came into the area before the ring of steel came up?" McCaul said. "We also know that one of these black widows actually was able to penetrate the ring and entered the Sochi area."

"It's quite fortified and it's very impressive, but it only takes one suicide bomber to get in to cause a real problem."

McCaul says that while Russian officials are cooperating with U.S. security and counterterrorism agents in securing the games, the Russians "have been not quite as candid with us" in sharing intelligence.

"We could help them a great deal if they would open up information-sharing more to us," he said.

"There's a sense of nationalistic pride in Russia, just as we would have in the United States. And so while they've been very productive, cooperating with us on some issues, when it comes to the military, it gets a little sensitive."

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