Terror threat leads US to order staff out of Pakistan consulate

A “specific” threat against the U.S. Consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, has forced the evacuation of nonemergency personnel, according to the State Department. 

CNN reports that the State Department moved most of its diplomats to Islamabad, leaving only a handful of emergency personnel in Lahore.

"We have picked up what we regard as a threat worthy of taking this action," a senior U.S. official told the network. The official said authorities are “still digging and trying to trace whether it is related” to the terror threat that resulted in the closure of U.S. diplomatic outposts in the Middle East and North Africa and a worldwide travel alert.

The State Department on Thursday also warned U.S. citizens to avoid nonessential travel to Pakistan due to ongoing security concerns.

“The presence of several foreign and indigenous terrorist groups poses a potential danger to U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan,” the department said in a travel warning.

“Threat reporting indicates terrorist groups continue to seek opportunities to attack locations where U.S. citizens and Westerners are known to congregate or visit. Terrorists and criminal groups regularly resort to kidnapping for ransom.”

President Obama addressed the terror threat for the first time during the Tuesday interview, telling Jay Leno that U.S. citizens could still take vacations but urged they do so in a “prudent way” by checking for State Department updates before traveling.

"The odds of dying in a terrorist attack are a lot lower than they are of dying in a car accident, unfortunately,” Obama said.

The State Department has extended the closure of diplomatic posts through next weekend. The president said U.S. officials were not overreacting to the potential terror threat.