All eyes are on Russia in the few weeks left before the Olympics begin in Sochi. Athletes and tourists visiting for the games are faced with increasing concerns over terrorist threats in and around what President Putin calls the “Ring of Steel.” Officials there (and here in the U.S.) are already on high alert after recent suicide bombings in Russia killed nearly forty people last month.
Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, was on New Day today and said Russia's security is the "most impressive" in Olympic history. We asked him what he’d tell his constituents if they want to travel to the games. Rep. McCaul didn’t recommend what to do one way or another, but did say we need to realize “nothing is ever safe….I think if we let the terrorists detract us from attending and enjoying these games we’re letting the terrorists win.” He also did acknowledge “ this Olympics is different” because of the proximity of the terrorists to the site of the world event.
McCaul says he isn't aware of direct threats against U.S. athletes competing in the games – but, adds "there are threats."
His biggest cause for concern: whether Putin will take up President Obama's offer of "full assistance" in added security and technology that can detect and counter IEDs. McCaul says Russia needs to improve its intelligence sharing, saying they haven't been “quite as candid with us."
All of this….and we’re just 16 days to the start of the games.