White House defends embassy closures after al Qaeda gloating

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The New York Times reported Thursday that jihadists in online forums were celebrating the move by the Obama administration as a victory in and of itself, celebrating the simple cost of security precautions and logistical snafus to American interests overseas.


But Carney said that those at the White House did not believe it was a "damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't" situation.

"In fact, the decisions made were made out of an abundance of caution, in reaction to a very real stream of information about a potential threat," Carney said. "And when it comes to protecting Americans serving in our embassies and facilities around the world, it's very important to take the necessary precautions when there is this kind of credible threat information."

The move has also garnered criticism from some American lawmakers, with Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) saying during an appearance on the "The Sean Hannity Show" that the decision to close the diplomatic missions made the U.S. look "like a bunch of cowards."

"If you will bother to find out exactly what went wrong, why you didn't have security where you needed it, where you need security to shore up, what you can do to make sure that doesn't happen again, you don't have to close your embassies like a bunch of cowards that go running away," Gohmert said.

But Carney insisted the information obtained by American intelligence was "specific enough and credible enough" to justify the move.

"We are convinced that is the right step to take," he added. "And, you know, we'll evaluate procedures and steps moving forward as we get more information."