A Massachusetts Democrat in Sochi said that Russian police have undertaken “extraordinary” efforts to find would-be terrorists in the region of the Olympic Games because they “do not have the constraints of human rights and civil rights that we have in the United States.”
Rep. Bill Keating (D-Mass.), a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said he was witnessing “the greatest security effort ever implemented in the Olympics.”
“There’s 100,000 estimated law enforcement agents here, 40,000 police officers, 30,000 active military people,” Keating told CNN. “…There’s what President Putin calls his ring of steel, which is a concentric area of concentration, making access here without proper credentials and background checks nearly impossible.”
“Despite all of the complicated differences with Russia and the U.S. right now, everyone hopes for a safe and secure Olympics. Everyone hopes that this could be another avenue or window for the U.S. aside from the Boston Marathon bombing, where we can show some cooperation and information sharing, and where we can move forward,” he added.
Keating said he wasn’t confident that Russia had tracked down any of the “black widow” terrorists who had been married to Chechen or Dagestani terrorists and are feared to have infiltrated the security zone.
“But I’m must tell you, we’ve learned since we’ve been here how extraordinary the efforts have been. They have literally — the Russians have gone in a way they could never do in the U.S., house to house through this area, knocking on doors and removing people that they think could be a problem,” Keating said. “So they also do not have the constraints of human rights and civil rights that we have in the United States when they are doing these things.”
In the coming weeks, the Homeland Security Committee is expected to release a report on the Boston Marathon bombing and the Tsarnaev brothers’ link to terrorists in Dagestan.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev “met with insurgents” on his trip to the region, Keating confirmed.
“He met with – at some length – he met with one person who was called a presenter or a recruiter, Mahmoud Nidel,” he said. “…And I think we also know that he was having trouble passing the muster to be accepted by these people. So he went back home, and when he went back home, there were red flags that were missed by our government.”
“We will explore not only the good practices but also looking at lapses and trying to move forward to see where we can improve. And I think the inability to share information, not only country to country but within our own domestic law enforcement unit, I think present the real security risks.”