Travel alert simply to raise awareness: White House
Washington: Noting that the al Qaeda and its affiliates continue to target Americans and its allies, the White House on Monday said that the travel alert issued by the State Department is "simply to raise awareness" among its citizens not dissuade them from travelling.
"This is not a travel warning telling people not to go. This is simply to raise awareness and alertness of those that are there, report suspicious activity, be very aware of your surroundings," the White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.
"We have worked in conjunction with our close European allies on this. As you know, the British took a similar or issued a similar alert for its citizens travelling in parts of Europe," he said.
The alert he said was issued by the State Department is based on information about potential threats in Europe.
"We want travellers to be alert and aware. The particular threat information, as I said, deals with Europe and isn`t related to the United States," he said.
"Having said that, we certainly know that al Qaeda and its affiliates seek to do us harm and attacks us here. So we remain vigilant about protecting our homeland," he said.
Gibbs said the US has been tracking streams and threats for quite some time.
The President meets frequently with his counterterrorism team, both in the Situation Room and in the Oval Office, he added.
"He has made sure to ask them what tools they may need to deal with threats that are either overseas or those that could impact here at home, and to do all that we can to share information and to ensure that we`re taking all of the necessary precautions as it relates to those threats," Gibbs said.
"We know and we have known for quite some time, and this isn`t based on anything that you read there, that al Qaeda and its extremist affiliates seek to do us harm here," he said.
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