Top US officials meet over terror threat
Updated: 2013-08-04 15:03
WASHINGTON - The White House on Saturday called a meeting of top US security officials to discuss potential terror threats in the Middle East following the announced closure of some US diplomatic missions there.
National Security Advisor Susan Rice chaired the meeting to "further review the situation and follow-up actions," the White House said in a statement.
Those present at the meeting included top aides to US President Barack Obama, secretaries of state, defense and homeland security, and heads of the intelligence agencies.
Obama was briefed after Saturday's session, the White House said.
"Given the nature of the potential threat," Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, has held regular interagency meetings throughout the week to "ensure the US government is taking those appropriate steps," it said.
The US State Department on Thursday announced the closure of some American diplomatic missions in the Middle East and North Africa through the weekend, in particular on Sunday, a workday in the Muslim world.
And on Friday, the department issued a global travel alert, warning of possible terrorist attacks "occurring in or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula."
"Current information suggests that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August," the department said.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told ABC News on Friday that there was "a significant threat stream" and that "the intent is to attack Western, not just US interests."
"The president has received frequent briefings over the last week on all aspects of the potential threat and our preparedness measures," the White House statement said, adding he was briefed again following Saturday's meeting by Rice and Monaco.
US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed when the US consulate in Benghazi of Libya came under attack on September 11, 2012, putting the Obama administration on the defensive just months ahead of the vote day of the presidential election.US to close some embassies Sunday for security reasons