WASHINGTON, President Barack Obama encouraged Americans to go about their business and remain vigilant during the Thanksgiving weekend in an effort to assuage fears of a Paris-like attack on the United States.
Obama said Wednesday there have been no credible, specific reports of a “plot on the homeland.” He said the United States is going after the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh, “wherever they may hide.”
“They are working overtime. They are continually monitoring threats at home and abroad. They are constantly working to protect all of us,” he said of his national security team.
Obama delivered his remarks after an hour-long meeting in the Situation Room with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey and others.
“It’s understandable that people worry something similar could happen here,” he said, referring to the Nov. 13 terror attacks on Paris. “As we go into Thanksgiving weekend, what I want the American people to know is that we are taking every possible step to keep our homeland safe.”
The security update comes a day after Obama and French President Francois Hollande called for all Western nations to step up the fight against the IS.
Obama’s remarks Wednesday also came at a time when more Americans are beginning to doubt his ability to effectively fight terrorists. More than 65 percent of people questioned in a recent CBS News poll said they believe Obama has no clear plan to fight the Islamic State.
“We continue to work to choke off their financing and their supply lines,” Obama said about his fight against terror. “We are stepping up the pressure on [the Islamic State] where it lives, and we will not let up.”
In Paris, 130 people died in the terror attacks and more than 350 were injured. This week, investigators said the suspected ringleader was plotting a second attack on a French business district that was supposed to take place about a week later.
“I want the American people to know, entering the holidays, that the combined resources of our military, our intelligence and our homeland security agencies are on the case.”
Obama added that if a potential threat emerges, the public will be notified. In the meantime, he asked Americans to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to authorities.
“We are both equipped to prevent attacks and we are resilient in the face of those who would try to do us harm,” he said. “And that’s something we can all be thankful for.”
By Amy R. Connolly and Doug G. Ware