POLITICS

Top House Republican Expects Terrorist Attack During Sochi Olympics

02/09/2014 10:55 am 10:55:28 | Updated Feb 09, 2014

WASHINGTON -- House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) said Sunday that he expects a terrorist attack to occur during the Sochi Winter Olympics.

"There's a high probability that something will detonate, something will go off, but I think it's probably going to go off outside the ring of steel, outside the Olympic Villiage," McCaul said on "Fox News Sunday."

It is extremely unusual for lawmakers to make public predictions about violent attacks. Fox host Chris Wallace gave McCaul an opportunity to walk back his statement, but McCaul repeated the claim.

"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," McCaul said. "And the eyes of the world are upon on these Olympics, and the Chechen extremists know this. They want to make a global statement. They want to make a jihad statement."

Various Russian governments have been embroiled in an on-and-off conflict with Chechen nationalists since the Russian empire annexed Chechnya in the 18th century. Russian President Vladimir Putin has supported intense military action against Chechan rebels since 1999, and several Chechan groups have targeted civilians in violent attacks.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) did not make any predictions on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, but said it is possible that terrorists -- including the so-called "Black Widow" bombers, who are believed to be associated with other recent attacks -- may opt to strike outside the security rings in Sochi.

"We can only hope that they'll find those individuals before they're able to penetrate any of the rings," Rogers said. "And I don't believe that the terrorists think they have to have a venue event -- a terrorist attack on a particular venue. They just have to have some disruptive event somewhere. That's what makes them more dangerous than the folks who believe they have to have a big event at a venue."

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