Washington: White House spokesman Jay Carney on Monday defended President Barack Obama`s record of fighting terrorism, as the United States extended its closure of 19 overseas diplomatic missions.
"The president has been clear that the threat from al-Qaeda very much remains," said Carney at a regular press briefing here, rejecting the notion that Obama had dropped the ball on fighting terror after the death of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden in 2011.
"As al Qaeda`s core has been diminished through the efforts of the United States and our allies, affiliate organizations, including in particular, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), have strengthened. We here in Washington have identified AQAP in particular as the dangerous threat," said Carney, adding that the United States has "focused a great deal of attention on those affiliated organizations."
Carney insisted that the closure of the US diplomatic missions is a temporary measure taken out of "an abundance of caution."
The US State Department on Sunday announced the extended closure of 19 diplomatic missions in the Middle East and Africa to cope with potential terrorist attacks against Western interests.