National security officials see no evidence of a Thanksgiving terrorist attack in the United States, President Barack Obama said Wednesday while urging Americans to proceed with their holiday travel and revelry.
Less than two weeks after the Islamic State-claimed terrorist attacks in Paris left 130 dead, Obama said it is “understandable” for Americans to worry that a similar attack could be in the works here.
But Obama, who spoke after being briefed by senior national security officials in the White House situation room, said there is “no specific and credible” information about the threat of “an attack on the homeland” over the holiday weekend.
Should the threat picture worsen “the public will be informed,” Obama said, advising Americans to “go about their Thanksgiving activities.”
“We are taking every possible step to keep our homeland safe,” Obama said.
That includes, “going after ISIL wherever it hides,” he said, using one of several acronyms for the terror group.
The commander in chief pointed to the 8,000 strikes U.S. and other coalition aircraft have carried out on ISIS targets as an example of taking the fight to the violent extremist group. He also said the coalition has driven ISIS from territory it held in Iraq and Syria and killed some of its top leaders.
Echoing comments French President Francois Hollande made Tuesday at the White House, Obama also underscored efforts to target ISIS funding streams, recruitment efforts and messaging.
“Our countries are going to step up that coordination even further, and do more of that work even further,” Obama said, referring to increased U.S. assistance of French airstrikes since the Paris attacks. “We’re stepping up the pressure on ISIL where it lives. And we will not let up.”
Obama, whose critics say his reaction to the France attacks has been too measured and lacking bold pronouncements, said a major aim of the U.S.-led coalition is “adjusting our tactics, where necessary, until they are beaten.”
He also said U.S. officials have taken steps to prevent would-be terrorists from entering America or other countries.
The Roosevelt Room statement was the latest in a string of understated ones about ISIS Obama has made since the Nov. 13 Paris attacks.
At times, the commander in chief has drawn criticism from Republican lawmakers and pundits for sounding dismissive of their calls for him to sound and act tougher.
In other instances, however, Obama has talked about “eliminating” and “defeating” ISIS, stressing his administration is “intensifying” its airstrikes and other actions in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.
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