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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

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December 30, 2013 - 4:01 pm

The Obama administration offered to work on Sochi Olympics security issues with Russia after a pair of bombings in Volgograd killed at least 31 people.

President Vladimir Putin gave instructions to the National Anti-Terrorism Committee “to step up security measures across all of Russia and specifically in Volgograd region,” the Kremlin said Monday. “The president will receive daily reports from the NAC on the measures being taken along with regular situation reports.”

Putin had not emerged to make a personal statement on the bombings, which occurred at a train station and on a bus.

The train station bomber was reportedly Pavel Pechyonkin, a former paramedic who converted to Islam and joined militants in Dagestan. In March, Pechyonkin’s parents videotaped a plea to their son to drop his arms and come home. “I don’t believe that Allah has ever said that one must kill people,” his mother said. “…Imagine that somebody were to kill your parents, how would that make you feel? Why are you turning children into orphans?”

Pechyonkin taped his own video response. “Why should we follow those Christian commandments, when Allah, may he be glorified, urges us to fight those kafirs. Why shouldn’t we leave their children orphaned?” he said. “…I am not inventing anything from the Koran, I am reading.”

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement today that “the United States condemns the terrorist attacks that struck the Russian city of Volgograd and sends deepest condolences to the families of the victims with hopes for the rapid healing of those wounded.”

“The United States stands in solidarity with the Russian people against terrorism,” Hayden continued. “The U.S. government has offered our full support to the Russian government in security preparations for the Sochi Olympic Games, and we would welcome the opportunity for closer cooperation for the safety of the athletes, spectators, and other participants.”

Over at the State Department, spokeswoman Marie Harf acknowledged the security issues highlighted by the bombings but still strove to argue that Sochi, 600 miles southwest of Volgograd but a hundred miles closer to Chechnya, is likely safe enough for the Olympic Games in six weeks.

“In terms of security for Sochi, U.S. citizens planning to attend should remain alert regarding their personal security at all times. I think our security experts have said that criminal activity in Sochi is similar to other cities of comparable size. Obviously, major events such as the Olympic games are an opportunity for thieves or for other folks who want to cause mischief,” Harf said.

“Again, people should also be reminded that threats have been made against the Olympic games and — and acts of terrorism, including bombings, continue to occur in Russia. So, obviously, this is — this is an exciting, positive, happy international sporting event, but people going there do need to maintain vigilance and watch out for their own security and safety,” she added.

“Our Diplomatic Security personnel have been working with the Russians for many months on security. They obviously work with our team, with high-level officials. Also, we provide U.S. citizen service to folks who will be traveling there. So we’re ready to support any way we can to help with the security situation.”

Eager to move on to a different line of questions, Harf was asked if the U.S. was joining with the Russians on counterterrorism concerns. “We always cooperate with the Russians on counterterrorism,” she said.

The State Department has not issued a travel warning for Russia.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach called the incidents “a despicable attack on innocent people and the entire Olympic Movement  joins me in utterly condemning  this cowardly act. Our thoughts are with the loved ones of the victims.”

“I have personally written to the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, to express our condolences to the Russian people and our confidence in the Russian authorities to deliver safe and secure Games in Sochi. I am certain that everything will be done to ensure the security of the athletes and all the participants of the Olympic Games,” Bach said.

“Sadly terrorism is a global disease but it must never be allowed to triumph. The Olympic Games are about bringing people from all backgrounds and beliefs together to overcome our differences in a peaceful way. The many declarations of support and solidarity from  the international community make me confident that this message of tolerance will also be delivered by the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.”

At the Summer Olympics in 2012, the IOC refused to hold a minute of silence for the Munich 11, terror victims slain at the 1972 games.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
"theives or for other folks who wanna causde mischief?" Sounds just like our gov't to me...
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is getting so old...
"opportunity for thieves or for other folks who want to cause mischief"

Let's start calling a spade a spade. The problem is Islamic terrorists and those in Western governments that enable them.

Oh well, sometimes we will start electing the right leaders. How many more will die before that happens?


37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bach said, "Sadly terrorism is a global disease..."

What a bunch of BS. The global disease is those who follow Muhammad, and worship my god of the Kabba. Anyone know the name of that political, and religious system?
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (31)
All Comments   (31)
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"Folks who want to cause mischief." This is completely in keeping with the NY Times absolution of Hillary Clinton in their recent editorial claiming no AlQaeda connection to the Benghazi attack. The mystery as to whom the NYTimes and Hillary Clinton blame for the murders of Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Ty Woods, and Glen Doherty has finally been resolved by Harf's minion-esque declaration from State that the assault on Benghazi was carried out by Halloween Trick-or-Treaters. Harf has established her bona-fides for a post in the Hillary Clinton administration.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
At least now the blame America crowd who said terrorism is because of our imperialistic middle east policies have been muzzled. You can't blame America for terrorism in Volgograd (Stalingrad).
And it's ISLAM we are fighting. Maybe the U.S. and Russia will have to team up to beat this global plague, if this spineless administration ever gets their rear in gear. Their busy fixating on those dangerous Tea Party members while Islam is on a global jihad.
I think the jihadis bit off more than they can chew with Putin.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Since when is a terrorist murderer determined to kill innocent people a folk who wants to cause mischief. Using a roll of toilet paper to cover a tree on Halloween is "mischief". Planting a bomb on a bus or train that is intended to kill innocent men, women and children is murder. I wonder if Marie Harf will be attending any of the Olympic events at Sochi? I'm betting not.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am confident that Mr. Putin is well equipped to respond to the group behind these killings. He must have wet himself laughing when our Pajama Boy president offered assistance. As for that great religion of peace, well, never mind. I expect that the NY Times will blame Israel for the attacks. Or the Tea Party. Or W.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
These days, the ability to speak well is not a requirement for government spokespersons. Blurting the first idea that comes to mind is good enough.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
In Harf's case blurting out the first thing that comes to mind just means that the brain lost another foot race with the mouth.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm really starting to think the MAIN attraction people have to Islam is that it not only sanctions, not only encourages, but DEMANDS murder as a condition of adherence.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Folks who want to cause mischief"...
That's how one might characterize a group of college pranksters... so the administration's official "Harf-wit" characterizes suicide bombing as mischief yet these same demagogues would lump the Christian right here in the US together with terrorists and demonize their belief system as hate speech? The grand expunging is long overdue.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah, mischief. You know. Pranks. Those Chechen suicide bombers - such little scamps.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Folks who want to cause mischief?
Democrats?
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Just an excitable boy they all said....." Warren Zevon
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Only a lad..." Danny Elfman
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
"theives or for other folks who wanna causde mischief?" Sounds just like our gov't to me...
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
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