Obama Warns Of ‘New Phase’ Of Terror Threat


December 7, 2015

WASHINGTON D.C. – President Obama has warned Americans of a "new phase" of terror threats – days after the deadly shootings in San Bernardino.

December 7, 2015

WASHINGTON D.C. – President Obama has warned Americans of a "new phase" of terror threats – days after the deadly shootings in San Bernardino.

In a rare address from the Oval Office, he confirmed the FBI was still gathering information about the attacks in California which left 14 people dead and 21 wounded – but said there was no evidence that the killers had been directed by terror groups overseas.

During the speech, Mr. Obama explained how the threat that terrorism posed to the States had changed from the "multi-faceted" attacks of 9/11, to simpler methods such as mass shootings. "We will prevail by being strong and smart," the President told the nation.

He said the US-born couple involved in the San Bernardino massacre, US-born Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, "had gone down the dark path of radicalization, embracing a perverted interpretation of Islam that calls for war against America and the West".

Mr. Obama is calling on Congress to stop terror suspects, or those who are on no-fly lists, from buying guns altogether – and warned that no matter how effective intelligence agencies are, it is impossible to identify all would-be shooters before they commit a crime.

Directly responding to those who are against further gun controls in the US, he asked: "What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon? This is a matter of national security."

Now in his seventh year in office, Mr. Obama urged the public not to "turn against each other by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam" – a remark which could be perceived as a slight against the rhetoric of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, who has been accused by some of fear-mongering against the Muslim community.

The White House is also planning to meet with major Silicon Valley companies to see how best to restrict the use of social media for promoting or planning violence.

Mr. Obama believes the tech sector needs to collaborate more closely with law enforcement agencies when messages posted on online platforms "crosses the line" from expressing an opinion "into active terrorist plotting". His administration is also "open" to the idea of deploying additional Special Forces to fight Islamic State militants across Iraq and Syria, with the situation being reviewed "on an ongoing basis".

Unlike other presidents, Mr. Obama has been rare in addressing Americans from the Oval Office. His last such statement was five years ago, when he announced the end of combat missions in Iraq.

If the San Bernardino shootout is confirmed as an extremist attack, they would be the deadliest such incident since 9/11.

Unconfirmed reports have suggested that Tashfeen Malik had pledged allegiance to a leader of Islamic State (IS). And according to the Los Angeles Times, the husband had contact with people from at least two militant organizations overseas, including the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front in Syria.