WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Barack Obama said there is currently no “specific and credible” intelligence indicating a terrorist plot on the United States, as he sought to reassure anxious Americans for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Speaking at the White House on Wednesday, Obama said it was understandable that Americans might be nervous following the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris, which killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more. While he encouraged Americans to remain vigilant, he urged people to go about their normal activities around Thanksgiving.
“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 said. “And that’s something we can all be thankful for.”
Obama spoke after a briefing with his national security team, including FBI Director James Comey, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson and his national security adviser, Susan Rice.
The president has faced criticism for his initial response to the Paris attacks, particularly his focus on chiding Republicans who called on him to be more aggressive in fighting Islamic State, the extremist group that claimed responsibility for the deadly assault in France. He was also sharply critical of lawmakers who backed legislation that would effectively keep refugees from Syria and Iraq — the two countries where the Islamic State is based — from coming to the U.S.
He shifted his focus Wednesday to Americans who may worry that the attacks in Paris, which took place at restaurants, a concert venue and a sports stadium, could be replicated in the U.S.
“I know that Americans have been asking each other whether it’s safe here, whether it’s safe to fly or gather,” he said. “I know that families have discussed their fears about the threat of terrorism around the dinner table.”
The president said that if intelligence were to reveal a credible threat to the U.S., the public would be informed. But he said Americans should feel confident in the work being done by national security and law enforcement officials.
“We are taking every possible step to keep our homeland safe,” he said.
It was the second straight day Obama discussed national security publicly. On Tuesday, he and French President Francois Hollande held a joint news conference in which the two leaders pledged solidarity in fighting terrorists in Syria and Iraq. Obama promised to work with France and other allies to intensify the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State.
On Wednesday, Obama reiterated that the coalition is going after ISIS strongholds and equipment in Syria and Iraq, working to choke off its financing and supply lines and disrupting its recruiting.
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