By Alexandra Jaffe - 01/26/14 12:07 PM EST
p>House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said on Sunday the security threat to the 2014 winter Olympics is “the greatest … I’ve ever seen.”
He added that the call from an al Qaeda leader for a “global jihad” on the Russian Olympics is “very disturbing to me in terms of the security at the Olympics.”
McCaul visited Russia this past week to assess the security risks facing athletes from across the world, as they prepare to gather in Sochi for the Winter Olympics.
He said that, while he currently doesn’t think “it’s a time to be an alarmist and cancel,” that option should be on the table.
“If this thing gets worse, maybe we would consider that,” McCaul said.
The Russian government has established a so-called “ring of steel” with 100,000 security officers to protect the Olympic Village, and McCaul said Russian President Vladimir Putin “is putting everything he has, from a security standpoint, down there.”
Still, he said he expects more attacks, like the suicide bombing of a Russian train platform that killed 30 people, to occur outside of the secure zone.
"I think you're probably going to see more of those, like you just saw with that train bombing you had on the program earlier by a suicide bomber," he said. "And they're calling for more of these attacks just as of yesterday. So I think you're going to see more of these attacks, but outside the perimeter."
Another lawmaker, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said this week he would discourage his family from attending the games, and others have suggested it may not be safe for Americans to attend.
McCaul, however, said it was important to have an American presence at the games.
"If we do not support our team and show up, I think the terrorists are winning, and that's what they're trying to do here," he said.
—This piece was corrected on Monday to clarify King's comments on the Olympics.