US says no plan to raise terror alert level after British move

WASHINGTON - The White House said Friday it has no plans to raise terror alert levels in the United States, despite Britain's decision to raise its threat level to "severe".

"I don't anticipate at this point there is a plan to change that level," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, when asked whether Washington anticipated issuing a similar warning to Americans over a perceived threat from operatives of the Islamic State (IS) group, also known as ISIL.

The Obama administration dispensed with its previous colour-coded threat alert level system for terrorist threats introduced after the Sept 11 attacks in 2001, reasoning it rarely changed and was often unspecific.

Currently, terror threat alerts are issued by the Department of Homeland Security on a case-by-case basis, but there are no current alerts.

Britain raised its terror threat alert level to "severe" meaning that an attack was "highly likely," with Prime Minister David Cameron warning that he was certain that IS had set its sights on Western Europe.

Earnest said that senior US national security officials had been in close contact with the British over the issue.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said that at present, the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation are "unaware of any specific, credible threat to the US homeland from ISIL".

But he said that in recent weeks, US security officials had put in place new protective measures in the aviation industry and other areas to meet the possible threat.

"Some of the security measures will be visible to the public and some understandably will be unseen," Johnson said.

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