Before leaving Washington for more than two weeks in the Hawaiian sun, President Obama was briefed Tuesday on the possibility of terrorist threats during the holiday season.

The president met with his national security team on Tuesday to discuss possible dangers, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.


Fears of a terror attack have intensified in recent days following the release of a Senate report detailing the CIA's harsh interrogation practices during the Bush administration.

Those anxieties intensified after an a gunman took hostages at a downtown Sydney cafe. Two people and the gunman, and Iranian refugee, died as Australian police stormed the restaurant.

Earnest said part of the meeting would be devoted to "the ongoing efforts to ensure that our personnel and facilities around the globe are addressing the risk" posed by the release of the CIA report.

But the session would also focus on general holiday travel threats.

"This is something that the president typically does around this time of year, that around the holidays when more people are traveling, that the president gets a full briefing on the terror threats that we're monitoring and in some cases even countering around the globe," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday.

Obama officials are likely mindful of the on Christmas Day scare they faced in 2009, when Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab smuggled explosives onto a plane in a failed attempt to destroy an airliner bound for the United States.

Separately, the Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday that it was aware of a message posted online threatening a 9/11 style attack on U.S. movie theaters showing screenings of "The Interview," a comedy poking fun at the North Korean regime.

"We are still analyzing the credibility of these statements, but at this time there is no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters within the United States," a DHS official said.