International

U.S. reviews terror threat level

Concerned over al-Qaeda’s plans to carry out attacks in the United States, top counter-terrorism officials of the Obama administration have reviewed the terrorist threat level in the country during the holiday season.

The White House said the Assistant to the President for Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan on Friday convened an inter-agency coordination call with the Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano; Director of National Intelligence James Clapper; and FBI Director Robert Mueller.

Among other participant to the conference call were National Counter-terrorism Centre Director Michael Leiter; CIA Deputy Director Michael Morrell; and the National Security Staff travelling with President Barack Obama in Hawaii; besides other representatives from the counter-terrorism community.

“During the call, they reviewed the additional steps that are being taken to ensure vigilance throughout the holiday season, including enhanced security measures and close coordination with foreign partners,” the White House said.

The review by top counter-terrorism officials of the Administration comes in the wake of increased threat perception from al-Qaeda and other terrorist outfits.

Early this week, Mr. Brennan told reporters that al-Qaeda is planning terrorist attacks in the U.S. and Europe during this holiday season, adding that the U.S. is cooperating with international partners to thwart such attempts.

“We remain vigilant to attempts by al-Qaeda and other terrorist organisations to carry out cowardly attacks against innocent men, women and children,” Mr. Brennan said.

“We are working very closely with other governments to share all threat information immediately and to coordinate closely our counter-terrorism and security activities,” he said.

Mr. Brennan said these international partnerships are critically important to America’s ability to identify would-be terrorists and thwart their plans before they are able to act.

“We’re concerned about al-Qaeda’s plans to carry out attacks, and the Department of State had issued an advisory about Europe and about plans by al-Qaeda to try to carry out attacks there. We do not limit our focus to one geographic area. That’s why we are constantly looking at whether or not there is something that is directed at the homeland here,” he said.

“We always receive reporting. What we try to do is to investigate it and to scrutinise it very carefully. So we need to be on top of our game, particularly during the holiday season, but throughout the year,” Mr. Brennan said in response to a question.

The U.S. is concerned and is staying vigilant about both ends of that spectrum as far as a large—scale attack, as well as smaller—scale ones, he said.


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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 12:28:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/U.S.-reviews-terror-threat-level/article15608132.ece

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