Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) is concerned that recent terrorist attacks in Russia could turn the upcoming Sochi Olympics into a "nightmare like Benghazi."
Grimm, a co-chair of the House Russian Caucus, issued a statement Monday condemning the two deadly bombings that took place in the past two days in Russia. Both attacks occurred in the southern city of Volgograd, and together they left at least 31 people dead.
Grimm used the opportunity to drudge up memories of the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, as well as the Boston Marathon bombing in April. It was revealed after the bombing that Russia had warned the FBI about one of the two suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
"We cannot sweep these threats under the rug, like we did with Benghazi or the warnings from Russia on the Tsarnaev brother behind the Boston Marathon bombing," Grimm said. "Each time we fail to recognize these threats, we not only risk the lives of innocent Americans, but appear weaker and vulnerable in the eyes of the enemy."
He added that each threat should be taken seriously "so that the Winter Olympics remain a dream for athletes around the globe, instead of becoming a nightmare like Benghazi."
While the recent bombings have indeed ignited security concerns ahead of the Sochi Olympics, the parallel to Benghazi is not entirely clear, nor is there any indication that Americans will be under attack during the winter games. Russian authorities have initially linked the attacks to Islamist terrorists from the volatile North Caucasus region. A New York Times investigation published Saturday reported that the Benghazi attack was likely the work of independent Libyan militias.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has already called for heightened security across the country in the wake of the attacks. Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, wrote a letter to Putin to express "confidence in the Russian authorities to deliver safe and secure games in Sochi," while the Obama administration offered its "full support" to the Russian government as it prepares security for the Olympic Games.
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