President Obama Continues Show of Preparedness Against Terror Threats Before Holidays


President Obama speaks on Dec. 17, 2015, about counterterrorism effort. (Credit: CNN)

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President Barack Obama continues a week-long push to underscore his command of national security threats, traveling Thursday to the suburban headquarters of his counterterrorism command center for a briefing on holiday safety.

It's rare for Obama to visit the National Counterterrorism Center, housed in an unmarked building amid corporate headquarters in Tysons Corner, Virginia. Typically, Obama receives a briefing on Christmastime terror threats in the White House Situation Room.

But amid heightened fears of an attack on U.S. soil, prompted by the ISIS-inspired attack in San Bernardino, California, Obama has made a public show of preparedness.

He visited the Pentagon Monday for an update on military progress against the terror group and has tasked the Department of Homeland Security with updating its system for communicating potential threats to the American people.

"We are hitting ISIL harder than ever," Obama said at the Pentagon. "ISIL leaders cannot hide. And our next message to them is simple: You are next."

The administration insists there are currently no credible terror threats to the homeland but concede the potential for "lone wolf" attacks remain.

U.S. officials have also strengthened their focus on screening people entering the United States after signs of radicalization were missed when processing the fiancé visa for Tashfeen Malik, one of the San Bernardino shooters.

Officials are reviewing how those types of visas are granted and say a greater emphasis on analyzing social media could result.

Obama is working to reassure Americans heading into the holidays that they'll be safe from terrorist attacks. Past failed attempts to bring down jetliners -- including the foiled shoe and underwear bomb plots -- occurred during the winter vacation period.

Busy tourist sites have increased security, including Walt Disney World in Florida, which is installing metal detectors for entering guests.

Obama himself departs for a 16-day vacation in Hawaii on Friday, stopping on the way to visit privately with family members of those shot in San Bernardino earlier this month.

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