While U.S. officials said over the weekend that they know of no specific threat to the nation in the wake of the Paris attacks, officials up to and including the president of the United States also said that U.S. intelligence is alert to potential dangers at all times. "Every day we have threat streams coming through the intelligence transom," President Barack Obama said at the G-20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, on Monday.
Obama also laid out the stark reality of playing defense against militant jihadists bent on the destruction of the West: "If you have a handful of people who don't mind dying," the president said, "they can kill a lot of people."
The terrorist organization itself said there's more to come: ISIS put out a propaganda video Monday, praising the assault on Paris and threatening more Western cities, including Washington, D.C.
On Capitol Hill, the police force that protects Congress sent a memo to Congressional staffers on Monday morning saying that there is no known specific threat against the Capitol building. That said, officers warned staffers " out of an abundance of caution," to take precautions including using secure underground tunnels between congressional office buildings instead of walking on public streets. The warning noted that the Capitol Complex "will always be an appealing target."
Still, Obama during his speech went on to cite a number of reasons for hope that the United States may be relatively more safe than Europe, including the efforts post-9/11 to harden so called soft targets inside the country, efforts to secure aviation, and more cooperation between the FBI and state and local governments. And, he said the simple geography of a country bordered by two oceans provides "some advantages" against a terrorist threat that has been able to walk and drive its way into the heart of Western Europe.