- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, have gone without a major incident so far, but security concerns ahead of the event were not overblown, former presidential nominee Mitt Romney said Sunday.

Mr. Romney, who is credited with helping Salt Lake City hold its winter games in 2002, said “when you have the kind of specific threats that were leveled at the games, you have to take them very seriously.”

“At the same time, I think Russia has shown not only through the application of their security forces but also through their intelligence work that they have the capacity to keep the games reasonably safe,” the former Massachusetts governor told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The games in Sochi are taking place a few hundred miles west of the war-torn north Caucasus region, and many feared that radical suicide bombers would target the event. So far, the pageantry has gone off without incident.

Mr. Romney was less laudatory about Russia’s budget for the games, which surpassed $50 billion dollars. He said the Olympics can be put on for as little as $3 billion, with the balance of dollars going toward efforts to fight poverty and disease.

“That’s what we really ought to be using those resources for, as opposed to wasting them, in many cases, to show off a country or, I think more cynically, to show off the politicians in a country,” he said.

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