A senior member of the House Intelligence Committee said Monday that all signs point to a real threat of a terrorist attack against the U.S. and said federal officials are showing more caution in the wake of the Benghazi attack last September.
Rep. Adam Schiff, California Democrat, said that the decision to close more than 20 embassies and the multiple briefings President Obama has had on the subject speak to the serious nature of the threat.
“That demonstrates a high level confidence that this threat is real, that the attack planning is real, that it is not idle chatter and it is not an effort to simply distract us from something else they are doing,” Mr. Schiff said on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown.” “I think it is apparent too that while it may be specific, or fairly specific, on the timing, it is obviously not very specific on the location.”
Top Democratic and Republican lawmakers warned over the weekend that a terrorism threat reportedly triggered by an intercepted message between senior al Qaeda operatives is the most serious against the U.S. in years.
The threat led to the closing of U.S. embassies and consulates over the weekend. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that diplomatic posts in 19 cities in the Muslim world will be closed at least through the end of the week.
Mr. Schiff said on Monday that the successful drone strikes against al Qaeda operatives in the Arabian Peninsula have been a “mixed bag” in that they have led to the deaths of terrorist leaders, but also led to civilian casualties that have been a rallying cry for attacks against the U.S.
“They are still very potent,” Mr. Schiff said. “They are still well-resourced — even if they occupy less territory and are under great pressure from a combination of U.S. and Yemeni forces.”