Jackson Lee calls for hearings on Olympic security in Russia

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) is calling for congressional hearings to explore the measures being taken to protect U.S. athletes at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, next month.

Jackson Lee said the State Department, the International Olympic Committee and other organizations need to do more to ensure the safety of U.S. athletes.

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"The briefings I have received from the intelligence community lead me to conclude that we should be doing more in this regard," she said Wednesday.

"For this reason, I call upon Speaker [John] Boehner and Democratic Leader [Nancy] Pelosi to take all appropriate actions necessary to ensure that Members of Congress are afforded the opportunity to meet, in small groups and in secure locations, with senior members of the administration's national security team," she said.

Jackson Lee said the purpose of those meetings would be to give members more chances to ask questions about security for the games.

She noted that suspected terrorists have threatened to disrupt the games, and that Russian authorities are reportedly searching for people who may be planning an attack.

"I commend Russian President Vladimir Putin for making the security of the Sochi Olympics his highest priority," she said. "I am confident that he would welcome the assistance and cooperation of the United States and other countries in ensuring that the Sochi Olympiad is the safest and most secure Olympiad in history."

Security issues have been raised by members and U.S. officials alike in the wake of reports of possible terrorist activity near Sochi. The Obama administration has offered to help Russia with security, but Putin has downplayed the risks and Russia has deployed thousands of police to keep the Olympic area secure.

The U.S. Navy has placed two ships in the Black Sea, near Sochi, in case help is requested.

On Wednesday, a State Department spokeswoman said the U.S. is ready to help, and that Russian officials appear to be doing "everything they can" on security.

"They obviously have the lead on this," said Marie Harf. "We've said we stand ready to help in any way we can."