President Barack Obama delivers a statement at the National Counterterrorism Center in Mclean, Virginia on Thursday. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters
Speaking at the National Counterterrorism Center in Washington on Thursday, the president insisted Americans should feel safe.
“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. Obama has spent recent weeks underscoring his commitment to fighting the Islamic State and to countering the rise of homegrown radicalism.
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. Resilience, he added, was one of the nation’s “greatest weapons”.
“When Americans stand together, nothing can beat us,” Obama said. “We cannot give in to fear or change how we live our lives because that’s what terrorists want, that’s the only leverage they have.”
The president spoke before 105 employees of the National Counterterrorism Center and intelligence community following a closed-door briefing at the agency’s headquarters in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia.
On Monday, Obama paid a visit to the Pentagon for a meeting on military progress against Isis.
The moves come as the president seeks to toughen his message against Isis amid diminishing confidence among the American people over national security.
The Obama administration has already called for a review of the K-1, or so-called “fiancee” visa, the program under which San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik arrived in the United States. Malik,
who aided her American-born husband Syed Rizwan Farook in the attack that left 14 dead and 21 more injured, is believed by investigators to have been radicalized prior to her arrival in the US.
Obama said the US was stepping up its efforts to prevent attacks at home, while acknowledging the increased prevalence of lone-wolf style plots as “a new phase of terrorism”.
“My highest priority is the security of the American people,” Obama said. “We will not be terrorized. We have prevailed over much greater threats than this. We will prevail. Again.”