WH: No plans to raise terror threat level

WH: No plans to raise terror threat level

The United States does not anticipate following the United Kingdom in raising its terror alert level because of concerns over the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the White House said Friday.

"As it relates to the United States' national terror alert system, I don’t anticipate at this point that there’s a plan to change that level," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.


Earlier Friday, British Prime Minister David Cameron warned that the threat posed by ISIS was "deeper and greater threat to our security than we have known before."

"We are facing a terrorist organization not being hosted in a country but actually seeking to establish and violently expand its own terrorist state," Cameron said. He announced that he was raising the U.K.’s terror alert level from "substantial" to "severe."

Earnest said national security officials at the White House had been in touch with their British counterparts about the decision and that the move was generally related to concerns over British passport holders fighting alongside ISIS in Syria.

There are growing fears Western passport holders may return to their home countries to commit acts of terror.

"We’ve been coordinating closely with our allies, both the Brits but others in Europe, about countering this threat and mitigating it," Earnest said. "We’ve been doing that by cooperating through law enforcement channels, through national security channels but also through intelligence channels as well."

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Friday said that national security officials were “unaware of any specific, credible threat to the U.S. homeland from ISIL,” using an alternate name for ISIS.

He added that the group “demonstrated the intent and capability to target American citizens overseas” and was “an active and serious threat” in the Middle East.

“This government, in close collaboration with our international partners, has also taken a series of steps to track foreign fighters who travel in and out of Syria,” Johnson continued, “and we are contemplating additional security measures concerning foreign fighters.”

Earnest added that "for a number of months" the U.S. government had been monitoring individuals with Western passports who had traveled to Syria.

"They pose a threat because they’ve received military training, they are now battle-hardened, and they’ve demonstrated a willingness to risk their lives for their cause," he said.

The White House added that the president's decision to change his schedule and return to Washington after a series of fundraisers on Friday was not related to concerns over terror threats.