White House press secretary Josh Earnest said he doesn't anticipate that the U.S. will raise its terrorist threat level in the short-term after the U.K. did so Friday in response to a threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Earnest on Friday deferred an official decision to the Homeland Security Department but said "his understanding" is that there are no plans to immediately change the threat level.
"I don’t anticipate at this point that there’s a plan to change that level, but those are official announcements that are made by the Department of Homeland Security, so I’d refer you to them for an official determination on that," he told reporters during a daily briefing. "But it’s my understanding right now that there are no plans to change it."
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that the country would raise its terrorist attack warning system to the second highest level from substantial to severe, which carries the warning that a terrorist attack is "highly likely."
Cameron said British intelligence agencies made the decision to ratchet up the threat level out of concern about the number of ISIS fighters with Western passports and their ability to return to the U.K. and other countries to carry out terrorist attacks there.
Earnest said the the U.S. authorities also are focused on the threat for the same reasons and has been "coordinating closely with our allies" in the U.K. and the rest of Europe to try to mitigate it.
"We’ve been doing that by cooperating through law enforcement channels, through national security channels but also through intelligence channels as well," he said.
The U.S. National Terrorism Advisory System’s website shows no current threat, the lowest level. The system has three threat levels: none; elevated, which means a credible terrorist threat; and imminent, which means a credible, specific and impending threat.
In April 2011, then-Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano replaced the original color-coded terrorist threat alert system with the new version.
Earnest on Monday said there is no active ISIS plot to attack the U.S. homeland and cited a U.S. intelligence assessment.