Obama emphasizes preemption of terror threats in NBC interview
By Anne E. Kornblut
In the wake of twin suicide attacks on the Moscow subways, President Obama said Monday that the threat of a terrorist attack on the U.S. transportation network is a "significant concern," one that is "not restricted to subways."
He told NBC's Matt Lauer, who interviewed the president for Tuesday's "Today" show, "The same thing can happen in a bus terminal, and if you've got somebody who is determined to kill themselves and kill other people with them. That is always a challenge for any government," Obama said, according to excerpts released by NBC. "This is something that we are constantly working on."
Obama added that his goal remains identifying potential suspects long before they become operational.
But the president tried to strike a measured tone on the prospect of future violence on U.S. soil -- even as the interview took place in the wake of arrests over the weekend of nine members of a Christian militia group allegedly plotting to target police officers.
Obama has redoubled his focus on threats -- domestic and foreign -- since the attempted bombing on Christmas Day of a Detroit airliner as it was landing. The administration has repeatedly pointed to its success stories, including its interception last year of Najibullah Zazi, who allegedly sought to detonate explosives in New York and has since pleaded guilty on terror charges.
Obama said in the NBC interview that such cases remain the administration's best hope for preventing an attack.
"Because the rail system or the subway systems are so far-flung in this country, a lot of what's most important to us is being able to identify ahead of time individuals like Zazi in Colorado, who have decided they want to cause damage and us being able to roll them up before they are in a position to actually strike," he said.
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