Obama urges heightened alert ahead of 9/11 anniversary
U.S. President tells security team to pursue all threat information vigorously, adds that Washington should not ' not relax its counterterrorism efforts'.
President Barack Obama has told his security team to pursue all threat information vigorously and ensure heightened vigilance for Sunday's 10-year anniversary of al Qaeda's attacks, the White House said on Saturday.
"He directed his team to pursue vigorously all threat information and to ensure a heightened state of vigilance and preparedness as we commemorate the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks," the White House said.
"The president also stressed that the United States must not relax its counterterrorism efforts in the weeks and months that follow," it said in a read-out of Obama's morning meeting with national security and intelligence officials, giving no details of potential or reported threats.
Earlier Saturday, Obama said the United States was stronger 10 years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and Americans would "carry on" despite continued threats against their safety.
Obama noted that al Qaeda's strength had been sapped by relentless U.S. efforts in the decade since the tragedy killed nearly 3,000 people.
"Thanks to the tireless efforts of our military personnel and our intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security professionals, there should be no doubt: today, America is stronger and al Qaeda is on the path to defeat," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address.
New York police amassed a display of force on Friday, including checkpoints that snarled traffic in response to intelligence about a car or truck bomb plot linked to the anniversary.
At a Saturday morning meeting, Obama told national security and intelligence officials to pursue all threat information "vigorously" and also stressed vigilance against potential attacks needed to extend beyond the anniversary weekend.
Rudolph Giuliani, the mayor of New York at the time of the attacks, said the country still had work to do to become better prepared for further threats.
"People often ask me, 'Is America safer now than it was before September 11?' The answer is: 'Yes, but not as safe as we should be,'" he said in the weekly Republican address.
"We've made significant improvements in intelligence gathering and in airport security. But much work remains," he said, citing port security and preparedness levels at state and local governments as requiring improvement.