WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. President Barack Obama said Wednesday there is “no specific and credible intelligence” to suggest that terrorists have any plans to strike the United States over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
“… Americans should go about their usual Thanksgiving weekend activities. Spending time with family and friends, and celebrating our blessings,” Obama said. “And while the threat of terrorism is a troubling reality of our age, we are both equipped to prevent attacks, and we are resilient in the face of those who would try to do us harm.”
Obama’s remarks came after a meeting with his national security team in the Situation Room. His comments came as many politicians are calling on his administration to do more against the Islamic State.
The participants of Wednesday’s meeting, according to administration officials, included Attorney General Loretta Lynch; Homeland Security Jeh Johnson; national security adviser Susan Rice; assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism Lisa Monaco; FBI Director James Comey; White House chief of staff Denis McDonough; White House Counsel Neil Eggleston; deputy assistant to the president for Homeland Security Amy Pope; and White House senior director for counterterrorism Jen Easterly.
The president acknowledged the fear that the Paris attacks evoked in many U.S. citizens:
“… Given the shocking images, I know that Americans have been asking each other where – whether it’s safe here, whether it’s safe to fly or gather,” he said, referring to the series of strikes on Nov. 13 in Paris that killed 130 people. “I know that families have discussed their fears about the threat of terrorism around the dinner table, many for the first time since Sept. 11. And it’s understandable that people worry something similar could happen here. Watching the events in Paris made the threat feel closer to home.”
Obama told reporters, “I want the American people to know that we are taking every possible step to keep our homeland safe.”
“So as Americans travel this weekend to be with their loved ones, I want them to know that our counterterrorism, intelligence, homeland security, and law enforcement professionals at every level are working overtime. They are continually monitoring threats at home and abroad,” the president said. “Their work has prevented attacks, their work has saved lives.”
“In the event of a specific, credible threat, the public will be informed,” Obama said.
On Tuesday, Obama met with French President François Hollande. During a White House news conference both leaders urged the international community to devote more resources to fighting the Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS.
Defeating the terrorists, Obama said, is “going to be a process that involves hard, methodical work. It’s not going to be something that happens just because suddenly we take a few more airstrikes.”
© 2015, The Washington Post