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USA TODAY
Kevin Johnson, and Kelly Whiteside, USA TODAY Sports

Concerns raised by members of Congress about the safety of Americans at the Sochi Olympics and the release of a video by two purported suicide bombers underscored the terrorist threat Russia faces as it prepares to host the Winter Games in 18 days.

An Islamic militant group in the volatile Caucasus region threatened to attack the Games and claimed responsibility Sunday for two bombings last month in the southern city of Volgograd that killed 34 people.

U.S. authorities were analyzing the group's video posted on an extremist website, and it was not clear whether the boasts of the two unidentified men represented a credible threat to the Games, a federal law enforcement official said.

The official, who is familiar with the video but not authorized to comment publicly, said there was no definitive evidence to indicate whether the two men pictured in the video were linked to the Volgograd bombings.

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said he planned to be in Sochi today to assess the situation.

"All the briefings that I've received, from the intelligence community to the FBI and others, indicate that there are serious concerns, and that we need to do a lot to step up security. I do believe (Vladimir) Putin is doing a lot of that," McCaul, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, said on ABC's This Week.

Others called for more cooperation from Moscow on security issues while raising concerns for Americans going to Sochi.

"I would not go, and I don't think I would send my family," Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, told CNN.

"We don't seem to be getting all of the information we need to protect our athletes in the Games," said Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., who appeared on CNN's State of the Union and CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday.

The State Department has advised Americans attending the Games to keep vigilant about security because of potential terrorist threats and crime.

 

January 20, 2014

 

 
 

 

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