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White House Says There's No 'Specific, Credible Threat' To U.S. Right Now

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 15/11/2015 Dave Jamieson

A White House official said Sunday that there is no clear threat to the U.S. in the wake of the Paris terror attacks, though it is clear the Islamic State has "the aspirations" to launch such an attack on American soil.

"Our determination is there's not a specific, credible threat to the homeland at this time," Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communication for the president, said on ABC's 'This Week with George Stephanopoulos." "But we're going to be very vigilant because we know ISIL has the aspirations to attack the United States as well as our European and other allies and partners."

The coordinated attacks in Paris on Friday killed at least 129 people and wounded another 350. French President Francois Hollande has attributed the attacks to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. Rhodes said Sunday that American officials have reached the same conclusion.

"Certainly our information supports the strong likelihood that ISIL was involved in this," Rhodes said. "We absolutely agree that this was an act of war by ISIL.  Anytime you have this type of indiscriminate targeting of innocent civilians, we see that as an act of war."

ISIS has called the Paris attacks the "first of the storm" in the West. The mass killing has forced U.S. officials to reassess their approach to the group, which has also claimed responsibility for downing a Russian jet two weeks ago and killing 224 people. Top Republicans have called upon the administration to develop a more urgent military strategy, while also tempering earlier support for welcoming Syrian refugees.

Asked if the U.S. military strikes so far in Syria and Libya are making any difference, Rhode said Sunday that it was going to be "a long-term effort."

"This is a deeply entrenched group…. This threat is going to be with us for some time," Rhodes said. "But we have built an infrastructure of airstrikes, of the ability to train and equip forces on the ground, of intelligence that can lead to those types of leadership targets. And so our expectation is as we continue to intensify those efforts, [and] hope to draw in more resources from our coalition partners, we'll be able to roll back ISIL."

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