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Monday, December 30, 2013

Congressman: Don't let Sochi Olympics become Benghazi,

Congressman: Don't let Sochi Olympics become Benghazi, Boston Marathon

(CNN) – Rep. Michael Grimm on Monday likened the recent bombings in southern Russia to the security threats leading up to the deadly 2012 attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, as well as red flags ahead of the Boston Marathon bombings.

As the world prepares for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in less than six weeks, the Republican congressman from New York said "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."

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A second suspected suicide bombing struck the city of Volgograd on Monday, killing at least 14 people. The explosion came one day after 17 people were killed in a blast at the city's main train station.

A spokesman for Russia's federal investigation agency told a state-run news outlet that both explosions were terrorist attacks, though no one has claimed responsibility.

Volgograd is about 400 miles northeast of Sochi.

Grimm, the co-chair of the House Russian Caucus, called for the U.S. to work closely with Russia and allies "to combat the threat of terrorism."

"That begins with taking every threat seriously and acting accordingly, so that the Winter Olympics remain a dream for athletes around the globe, instead of becoming a nightmare like Benghazi," he said in a statement.

Grimm's district, which covers Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, has a notable Russian population and constituents from other former Soviet Union republics.

The U.S. government on Monday offered its "full support to the Russian government in security preparations for the Sochi Olympic Games," National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement.

She added that "we would welcome the opportunity for closer cooperation for the safety of the athletes, spectators, and other participants."

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