National Security

Obama: No specific, credible threat against the US

President Obama said during a high-profile visit to the National Counterterrorism Center on Thursday that there is no specific or credible terrorist threat against the U.S.

{mosads}“At this moment, our intelligence and counterterrorism do not have any specific and credible information about an attack on our homeland,” Obama said after receiving an update on terror threats from more than two dozen top national security officials.

Obama, however, urged a jittery public to remain “vigilant” about the possibility of lone-wolf attacks like the one that was carried out earlier this month in San Bernardino, Calif., an event he said marked a “new phase” in the nature of threats against the nation.

He also reassured Americans that the government’s counterterrorism officials are doing all they can to sniff out terror plots during the busy holiday travel season.

“I want every American to know as you go about the holidays … we’ve got dedicated patriots working around the clock all across the country to protect us all,” he said.

“Our folks are the best,” he added. “Across our government, these dedicated professionals are relentless 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

Instead of receiving his pre-holiday update at the Situation Room of the White House, he traveled to the counterterrorism center in Northern Virginia.

Obama was flanked on stage by Vice President Biden, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, Secretary of State John Kerry, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Obama has spent this week trying to show the public he has a handle on the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) at home and abroad.

Fears about the threat of terrorist strikes around the holidays have spiked following the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.

Obama, who addressed the nation in a rare speech from the Oval Office following the California shooting, has received criticism for his handling of terrorism.

Republican presidential candidates have blasted Obama’s response to ISIS, and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton has distanced herself from Obama’s characterization that the terror network has been “contained.”

The president on Monday visited the Pentagon, where he convened a high-profile meeting of military brass to review his administration’s anti-ISIS strategy and further explain it to Americans.

He’s also meeting with victims’ families in San Bernardino on Friday en route to his Christmas vacation in Hawaii.

The president and top administration officials have said repeatedly there is no specific and credible threat to the United States.

Still, fears persist about government’s ability to foil lone-wolf-style attacks, especially during the busy holiday season.

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll found that less than a quarter of Americans have a “good amount” of confidence in the administration’s capability to stop lone-wolf strikes. Almost 6 in 10 of those surveyed disapprove of Obama’s handling of the threat posed by ISIS.

The president conceded that lone-wolf attacks are “harder to prevent” than large-scale attacks like 9/11. But he said counterterrorism officials are adapting the way they identify potential plots.

The holidays are a sensitive time of year for Obama. In 2009, he was forced to interrupt his Hawaii vacation when a man connected to al Qaeda attempted to detonate a bomb concealed in his underwear aboard a commercial airliner in Detroit.

But Obama urged the public not to let the threat posed by ISIS overshadow time spent with family and friends during the holidays.

“When Americans stand together, nothing can beat us,” he said. “We cannot give into fear or change how we live our lives.”

Tags Hillary Clinton John Kerry

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