Obama tries to assure nation that feds working hard to fight terrorism

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Obama National Security Briefing: No ‘Specific’ Terror Threats Against U.S., but Americans Must Remain Vigilant.

With national security fears on the rise, Barack Obama sought to reassure Americans preparing for the holiday season that there was no “specific and credible” threat facing the United States. “We do not have any specific and credible information about an attack on the homeland,” Obama said, flanked by members of his national security team and vice-president Joe Biden. “That said, we have to be vigilant.” The president’s speech arrived on the heels of growing unrest over the threat of terrorism following attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.

President Barack Obama gave a third speech on terrorism in less than two weeks in an attempt to placate critics unhappy with his actions and words after the San Bernardino attack.President Barack Obama said there is no credible evidence of a terrorist threat against Americans now but added that the country must remain vigilant and united. “One of our greatest weapons against terrorism is our own strength and resilience as a people,” Obama said Thursday at the National Counter Terrorism Center. “If you see something suspicious, say something to law enforcement.Americans gearing up for Christmas holiday travel are as safe as the world’s more technologically advanced government can make them, President Barack Obama told Americans in a rerun of earlier status reports delivered Thursday from the National Counterterrorism Center.

The White House has seen a week of embarrassing news stories exposing federal investigators’ inability to screen social media like Facebook and Twitter for clues to the destructive intentions of potential visa-holders. Echoing his address to the nation earlier this month, Obama on Wednesday said attacks like those in San Bernardino “stiffens our resolve” in terms of preparedness.

National security chiefs considered in 2011 green-lighting a policy of vetting visa applicants’ social media histories – but decided to deny rank-and-file State Department background checkers access to that tool. And that makes it harder to prevent.” On Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey had talked about Islamic State (formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists focusing on small attacks, something that previously was rarely mentioned before in relation to the jihadist group. Obama said nothing in his latest offering about that troubling liability, nor did he offer new policy prescriptions aimed at tightening the border-control noose around Islamists who mean to create chaos with blood.

Obama then outlined three main thrusts of the battle against terrorism, referencing his Pentagon speech from Monday, saying that the US is “going after terrorists over there” and “hitting ISIL harder than ever in Syria and Iraq”; “doing everything in our power to prevent terrorists from getting into the United States,” including looking into the visa waiver, refugee application and K-1 fiancée visa programs; and stepping up efforts to prevent terrorist attacks in the US. The moves come as the president seeks to toughen his message against Isis amid diminishing confidence among the American people over national security. It’s natural,” Obama said. “What the world doesn’t always see are the successes, those terrorist plots that have been prevented, and that’s how it should be,” Obama said. “This work oftentimes demands secrecy, but as Americans, we should not forget how good these patriots are.

Because Malik and Farook had not been in direct contact with terror-linked groups listed in national security databases, they passed Homeland Security Department background checks. Over the years, they have taken countless terrorists off the battlefield, they have disrupted plots. they’ve thwarted attacks, they have saved American lives.” The president insisted his team of information-sharing pros, working ‘literally shoulder-to-shoulder,’ can now shift gears into a new phase of terror prevention – although he didn’t say how. Obama noted that while many Americans may not be aware of it, intelligence and counterterrorism officials have taken in terrorists, disrupted plots, thwarted attacks and saved lives.

He again urged Americans to not give in to fear and said the latest attacks “only stiffen our resolve” to learn everything possible from them and make improvements where needed. And without mentioning Islam by name, Obama reiterated that dividing America by religious affiliation – as some Republican presidential candidates have toyed with doing – would be antithetical to basic American values. As if to underscore the faith-neutral nature of his charge to the country, Obama ended his remarks with a curt, ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas.’

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