By Kyle Balluck
Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) on Sunday said there is no “100-percent guarantee” of safety for U.S. athletes at the Olympic Games in Sochi.
"I mean, everything is being done by the United States," he said. "But the fact is, this is a dangerous region in Russia by the North Caucasus. There are active terrorist organizations there. And 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.”
King, the chairman of the House Homeland Security subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, said the suggestion that U.S. athletes not wear their uniforms outside of Olympic venues is an indicator of how seriously the U.S. government takes the threat.
“And even though 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,” King said.
“I would advise the athletes that do everything they're asked to do by the security team, by the State Department, by the FBI, because they may feel safe; they may feel secure, wander off or wear some indicator that they're from the U.S. and just leave themselves open as a target.”
“Now this is a dangerous situation. Hopefully things will work out, but it's nowhere near ideal,” King added.
King said repeatedly that Russian officials have not been cooperative in sharing intelligence.
“The Russians don't want to share what they have, because they're afraid that that will enable us to learn how they obtain their intelligence, and we'll use it against them in the future,” he said.
Turning his attention to security at the Super Bowl next week, King said he is confident “everything that can be done is being done.”
“I've been there. I've met with all the officials involved. There was total sharing, total cooperation. There's any number of law enforcement agencies — federal, state and local, bistate — working together,” he said.
King said the first “mass-transit Super Bowl” will present security concerns, adding that the cold weather will make it easier for “people to conceal things under their clothing.”
"Having said that, the cooperation is enormous. And again, to the extent that any athletic event can be safe, the Super Bowl will be,” King said. “It's really a model for cooperation with all levels of law enforcement.”