New York Rep. Peter King said he would not feel safe going to the Winter Olympics in Sochi next month because of a possible terrorist attack.
“Let’s say tomorrow, if my family and I were given free tickets to go to the Olympics, I would not go,” King said Monday on Anderson Cooper 360.
King said there is “too much of a risk” of an attack on Sochi or the surrounding area.
“I mean, odds are there will not be an attack, but the odds are higher than they’ve been for any other Olympics, probably less than 50/50,” King said. “That’s pretty high when you’re talking about a terrorist attack.”
“This is a very deadly area,” King said, adding later that he perceived a “real chance of an attack” both inside and outside Sochi, and even in the Olympic venues themselves, some of which he said he had “been told could be vulnerable to terrorist attacks.” He said the protection provided for venues and athletes would not be sufficient to cover all the sites.
“We have to assume the terrorists know that and they may try to take advantage of it,” he said.
Two December bombings in Volgograd, a city several hundred miles away from Sochi, left 34 dead. In a video, the people responsible for the bombings promised more attacks and called on Islamists in Russia to do the same. Last year, a supposed leader of Islamist insurgents called for attacking the Olympics with “maximum force.”
The Russians, King said, “have not been cooperating as far as sharing intelligence” in spite of the threat.
On Sunday, King told ABC that he could not “100 percent guarantee” the safety of athletes. Still, he said the danger was not so high that he would recommend canceling the games.
“I don’t think we’re at that stage yet. I think we should do the best we can, monitor it very carefully, do all we can as far as our intelligence gathering in advance,” he said.
And if he were an athlete who had earned a coveted spot on the Olympic team, King said, he “would go.”