President Barack Obama traveled to the National Counterterrorism Center for a Dec. 17 briefing on national security, in an attempt to reassure Americans that he was taking the threat of terrorism seriously as he prepares to leave Washington D.C. for his vacation in Hawaii.
He repeated the same message that he shared before Thanksgiving — that no specific or credible terrorist threats had been detected by law enforcement officials — when he spoke to the media after the briefing in McLean, Va.
“I want every American to know, as you go about the holidays, as you travel and gather with family and the kids open the presents, and as you ring in the year, that you’ve got dedicated patriots working around the clock all across the country to protect us all,” he said.
He did not take questions after he spoke for about 10 minutes.
Obama admitted that Americans were obviously more alarmed after the attacks in San Bernardino and Paris, but he said that counter terror officials and law enforcement were a “strong united team.”
The San Bernardino attack, Obama added, “tears at our hearts but it also stiffens our resolve.”
He urged Americans to stay “united as one American family” in order to defeat terrorism. “Most of all, we cannot give in to fear or change how we live our lives because that’s what terrorists want,” he said. “That’s the only leverage that they have. They can’t defeat us on the battlefield but they can lead us to change in ways that would undermine what this country is all about.”
“Thank you everybody. Happy Holidays,” he concluded, as he left the podium.