Are U.S. Politicians Fearmongering The Olympics Because Of Snowden?

As the Sochi Games inched nearer and nearer, U.S. politicians seemed to rev up their "Danger, Will Robinson" fear-mongering talking points against Russia. We all understand that events like this are in danger of terrorism, but are politicians like Rep. Mike Rogers and Michael McCaul sounding the alarm bell a little too loudly, not because of the possibility of a terrorist attack, but because Russia is keeping Edward Snowden safe from U.S. authorities?

Here's Rep. McCaul on Fox News Sunday.

McCaul; And so that's a whole new ball game that makes I think these Olympics very, very different.I think there is a higher degree probability that something is going to -- something will detonate. Something will go off. But I do think it's probably most likely to happen outside of the ring of steel and the Olympic village.

WALLACE: I've got to pick you up on this. You're saying as the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, you think that there is a high probability that there will be some explosion outside the ring of steel?

MCCAUL: Well, I hope I'm wrong in this assessment. But you're talking about an area of the world where suicide bombers go off all the time. And the fact is right now, Chris, the eyes of the world are upon these Olympics. And the Chechen extremists know this. And they want to make a global statement. They want to make a jihad statement. And what better time to do it than right now? And that is I think the biggest threat to these Olympics. They don't have to hit in the ring of steel at the Olympic village as long as they hit somewhere in Russia. To them, that's a victory.

On CBS, Rep. Peter King said this:

KING: No, Bob, so far so good. I mean, it's a long haul; there's still several weeks to go. It's still, I believe, a dangerous situation, but up until now there's been no incidents at all. And again, hopefully this will continue over the next few weeks so we can focus on the Games. But the worst thing we can do in any way is to -- if anyone let their guard down between now and the end of the games.

↓ Story continues below ↓

A few days earlier, Rep. King told Wolf Blitzer that he wouldn't go to the Olympics:

BLITZER: So I guess the key question, are the athletes safe right now, the American spectators, the family members, the fans, all of the guests who are going to Sochi in the next few - are they safe?

KING: I would say that they are reasonably safe, but I would not go myself. I mean, if I were an athlete, that's one thing. But just as a spectator, I don't think it's worth the risk. I mean, odds are nothing is going to happen, but the odds are higher than for any other Olympics, I believe, that something could happen. And the Olympic site itself probably is locked down pretty well. There is that ring of steel right around the Olympics itself. But getting there and the surrounding areas, I would say there's real cause for concern.

Dianne Feinstein told Jake Tapper that if she had family she would go, but otherwise she'd skip it.

So you have to be careful. I think that the Russians have security forces. They have good intelligence. They know the Chechen area, the Dagestan area, the problems inherent in it, and the brutality of these groups in the way they will hit soft targets.

So I think people going to the Olympics should be careful. I think they should watch their backs. I think they should stay out of crowds, if they can. And that's just my personal advice.

TAPPER: If you had family members asking you if they thought it was worth it, what would you tell them? We have heard different things.


TAPPER: What do you think?

FEINSTEIN: Well, if I had a son or a daughter performing in the Olympics, I would go. Now that I don't, I probably would not.

Do you remember if U.S. politicians raised the same concerns when the summer Olympics were being held in London, one of our allies and warned families not to go? I don't and that's too bad because many families who have family members competing are too afraid to go.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.