Rep. Keating: Threat of Olympics attack not to be taken lightly

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January 22, 2014, 10:00 pm
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(NECN: Josh Brogadir, Boston) - Massachusetts' U.s. Congressman Bill Keating returned from an advance trip to Sochi, Russia Wednesday, along with the head of the House Homeland Security Committee, and revealed his reservations about Olympic security.

Two weeks until opening ceremonies and it seems the athletic competition we'll see at the Winter Games in Sochi is, as of now, secondary to the questions about security.

Massachusetts 9th District Democratic Congressman Keating, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, returned to Boston from a trip to Russia, and says the state department has issued a travel alert and the threat of an attack is not to be taken lightly.

"Unfortunately there is terrorist activity in that area and in that region that we all know about in Boston where they want to assume that same position on the world stage," Rep. Keating said.

Keating mentioned the so-called black widows that intelligence officials are looking to locate before any potential act of terror, the restricted zone for licensed drivers in Sochi, and the two American warships that will patrol the Black Sea.

But when pressed on his thoughts about sending one of his own family members as a spectator, he said, "If there was a compelling reason (to go), I would advise them just the way I would everyone here. First, talk to the state department. Make sure you're fully apprised as to what's going on and don't make your decision until you do that. I think the danger is there. Some of those dangers are going to occur at any worldwide event of this kind."

2010 Olympic moguls gold medalist Hannah Kearney was much more confident.

She spoke with our Jack Thurston, in  her hometown of Norwich, Vermont.

"The safety of the game is not on my mind. I have to have faith that the Olympic spirit wins out. That's a cheesy way of looking at it. The other way of looking at it is there is so much focus and attention internationally on these games that they will do everything they can to make it as safe as possible," Kearney said.

Keating also emphasized the critical importance of registering with the state department in advance of a trip to the Winter Games.

Tags: Boston, Olympics, massachusetts, Winter Olympics, terrorism, Josh Brogadir, Sochi, Security, Bill Keating, olympic security, Sochi 2014
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