U.S. does not plan to raise threat level


McClatchy Washington Bureau

The United States does not expect to follow the United Kingdom in raising its terror alert level because of concerns over Islamic militants.

“As it relates to the United States’ national terror alert system, I don’t anticipate at this point that there’s a plan to change that level,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily briefing Friday.

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced earlier Friday that the U.K.’s terror alert level was being raised from “substantial” to “severe.”

“We are facing a terrorist organization not being hosted in a country but actually seeking to establish and violently expand its own terrorist state,” he said. Earnest said U.S. and British officials have been in contact.

“We’ve been coordinating closely with our allies, both the Brits but others in Europe, about countering this threat and mitigating it,” Earnest said. “We’ve been doing that by cooperating through law enforcement channels, through national security channels but also through intelligence channels as well.”

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement that U.S. officials were “unaware of any specific, credible threat to the U.S. homeland from ISIL,” also known as ISIS. But, he said, “violent extremists who support ISIL have demonstrated the intent and capability to target American citizens overseas, and ISIL constitutes an active and serious threat within the region. “

Johnson said that his department “is mindful of the potential for homegrown violent extremism inspired by radical ideology overseas, and, both through law enforcement and community outreach, we are taking steps to counter that potential threat.”

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