Obama on San Bernardino: ‘We Are in a New Phase of Terrorism’ – The Atlantic

“And that makes it harder to prevent,” he said. “But just as the threat evolves, so do we. We’re constantly adapting, constantly improving, upping our game, getting better.”

In the days after the attack in San Bernardino, federal investigators determined the shooters, Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, were inspired by Islamist extremists and had spoken of jihad online as long ago as 2013. But those communications were “private direct messages,” the FBI said, and would not have been detected by U.S. intelligence employees.

Obama said national security officials will use the San Bernardino shooting to“learn whatever lessons we can and make any improvements that are needed.”

“In the meantime, what the world doesn’t always see are the successes, those terrorist plots that have been prevented,” he said. “And that’s how it should be. This work oftentimes demands secrecy.”

Obama said the government will tighten security surrounding the visa-waiver agreement, a program that allows citizens from 38, mostly Western, countries to visit the United States for three months without visa; and review the K-5 fiancee visa program under which Malik entered the country last year to marry Farook. The president said refugees entering the U.S. “will continue to get the most intensive scrutiny of any arrival.”

The president receives an update on potential threats from the National Counterterrorism Center before the holidays every year, but usually in the Situation Room in the White House. Obama was joined on stage during his remarks Thursday by Nicholas Rasmussen, the director of the center, Vice President Joe Biden, secretaries John Kerry of State and Jeh Johnson of Homeland Security, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, and James Clapper, director of the Office of National Intelligence.


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