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Continued: Families and athletes thinking twice about traveling to Sochi

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, a member of the Senate intelligence committee, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he wouldn’t go to the games, “and I don’t think I would send my family.”

Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, was in Sochi on Tuesday to assess the situation and said he was impressed by the work of Russian security forces but troubled that potential suicide bombers had reportedly gotten into the city, despite the extraordinary security measures.

McCaul, a Republican from Texas, said he had numerous meetings with officials in Moscow and Sochi, and was briefed by the joint operation center in Sochi, which is responsible for overall security in the area.

“The one improvement I would ask of the Russians is to allow our intelligence services to coordinate and cooperate better with theirs,” McCaul said. Although the Russians are confident that they can provide security, the U.S. has information that could help keep the Games safe, he said.

The State Department has advised Americans who plan to attend the Olympics, which run Feb. 7 to Feb. 23, that they should keep vigilant about security because of potential terrorist threats, crime and uncertain medical care.

Scott Blackmun, chief executive officer of the U.S. Olympic Committee, said in a statement: “The safety and security of Team USA is our top priority. As is always the case, we are working with the U.S. Department of State, the local organizers and the relevant law enforcement agencies in an effort to ensure that our delegation and other Americans traveling to Sochi are safe.”

USA Hockey spokesman Dave Fischer said security at the Olympics is always a concern, but that there were a few more conversations happening among officials now, given the news out of Russia.

“Due diligence is being done … if there’s reason not to go, we won’t go, but I don’t expect that,” said Fischer, a former Minnesotan. “I think it’ll be a terrific experience for the athletes … Our government is not going to send our athletes into harm’s way.”

 

Staff Writer Rachel Blount and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Pam Louwagie • 612-673-7102









 

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