US prepared on Xmas holiday security

2010-12-18 08:02

Washington - US President Barack Obama's top counter-terrorism advisor said on Friday he was confident that "appropriate resources" were in place to deal with the risk of holiday season terror attacks.

John Brennan warned however that al-Qaeda was always looking to strike the United States and that the counter-terrorism community was particularly vigilant because of increased holiday season travel.

"In light of concerns about possible threats in Europe and other places, we always have to stay on our guard," Brennan said after a speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

"That's one of the things about the counterterrorism community - (it) is 24/7. The holiday season is a continuation of that 24/7 attention.

"If anything, we step it up during that time because of the heightened volume of travel. But at this point, I'm feeling good that we have the appropriate resources in place."

Brennan recalled that he was cooking his Christmas dinner last year when he was alerted by the White House to an attempt by a Nigerian man to bring down a US jet headed for Detroit with a bomb sewn into his underwear.

The attack was blamed on Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Riders on the Washington metro transit system were meanwhile warned on Thursday to expect random checks of carry-on items two days after the government disclosed the arrest of an Afghan man for allegedly threatening to bomb the system.

Stepped-up security measures at the height of the Christmas shopping season also coincided with a warning by Interpol that it had received information about possible al-Qaeda attacks in the United States and Europe.