By Justin Sink
President Obama said in an interview airing Friday that there was “always some risk involved” in attending large international events like the Olympics, but that ultimately fans who wanted to attend the games “should go.”
Asked what he would tell close friends worried about security at the event, Obama informed CNN’s Jake Tapper that he believed the Sochi games were “safe” but “that there are always some risks in these large international gatherings.”
But the president said Russian authorities understood the “potential threats” out there.
“So what I would say is is that if you want to go to the Olympics, you should go to the Olympics,” Obama said. “And, you know, we're not discouraging, in any way, Americans from participating in what is just always an amazing, wonderful event.”
Still, Obama noted there was “always some risk involved” in attending large events, and that he did not want to “discount” the risk for attack.
“As we've seen here in the United States and, you know, at the Boston Marathon, I mean there were — there were some risks if you have lone wolves, uh, or small cells of folks who are trying to do some damage,” Obama said.
Earlier this month, the White House said it had seen an "uptick in threat reporting" ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics, and had offered its "full support" to Russia in security preparations ahead of the games.
The U.S. has offered security assistance to Moscow, but White House press secretary Jay Carney has sidestepped questions about how much of that assistance had been accepted.
The Pentagon has stationed U.S. ships in the Black Sea as part of security preparations for the games.
Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) said during an interview Sunday with CNN he would not attend the winter games.
"It's just such a rich target," King said. "It would be a stretch, I think, to say I'd send my family."
Earlier this month, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) warned Russia had not been cooperative in sharing its intelligence.
"We've had a departure of cooperation that's very concerning to me," he told CNN.