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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.

By Anne E. Kornblut  |  March 29, 2010; 7:41 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , National Security  
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Comments

I might be okay with preemption of "strategic-level" threats, such as terrorists with nukes or poison gas or stuff like that.

I am not okay with Homeland Security being D.C.'s private gestapo out to keep tabs on every American who owns a gun or voices an opinion of dissatisfaction with government.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | March 30, 2010 4:43 AM | Report abuse

Oh yes the govt did a great job on domestic "terrorists"--WMDs (thanks Patriot Act) are now pipe bombs and apparently an ex-wife with an axe to grind can make this "militia" look dangerous.

So far even the indictment can't exactly say what the charges are (outside possession of a WMD) is.

Also when did attacking local police become equal to attacking the US govt--not that I am condoning attacking in any form. But it appears that "thinking" about doing anything is now a crime....my deep admiration to the Patriot Act, now if we could only find real terrorists....the indictment as it reads is a joke.

Posted by: mil1 | March 30, 2010 1:11 AM | Report abuse

I must say that Obama and the Feds did a great job in rousting the Fundamentalist Christian tea bagging terrorist kooks over the weekend.

Their plans to kill cops with IEDs could have out did the Russian attack.

Posted by: Andrea_KC | March 29, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Obama emphasizes preemption of terror threats in NBC interview...

That's kind of good to hear!
The "law enforcement mentality" if Obama purely went that way would be to wait until a "serious crime" was committed by the "alleged suspects". Then lawyers could show the magnificence of "our peerless civilian justice system to the world" - as Muslim killers were simultaneously prosecuted and defended and then.....like an orgasm to those who see enemy combatants as criminals....Justice would see a conviction! Case closed!

Except war doesn't work like that. And Obama is showing he understands that, even if his boy Holder doesn't.

That is why Obama has stepped up the whacking w/o trial of enemy Islamoids...something the Left moaned that it "amounted to illegal, extrajudicial murder by assassination" when Bush did it. For now, they are dutifully silent as their Idol does it.

The Show Trials in NYC don't look like they will be happening. Emmanual's caution about "retarded liberals" seems to have penetrated The One's awareness.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | March 29, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

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