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Police: No specific threat to Capitol but be careful

Detroit News wire services

Washington — Lawmakers and their aides should take precautions and be vigilant but there are no specific threats against the Capitol following the Paris terrorist attacks, the police agency that provides security for Congress said in a memo to lawmakers’ offices Monday.

In an email to congressional offices obtained by The Associated Press, the Capitol Police wrote that “out of an abundance of caution” people should use the tunnels connecting the Capitol with the adjacent House and Senate office buildings. It urges those who work for Congress to make sure their offices know where they are.

The email says the Capitol Police have an “increased presence and visibility” on the Capitol complex in the wake of the Friday attacks in France. It also calls on people working on Capitol Hill to report anything suspicious.

“While there currently is no specific threat to the Capitol Complex it will always be an appealing target,” the memo says. It says the Capitol Police “continues to be on the highest alert.”?

A Capitol Police spokeswoman, Capt. Kimberly Schneider, declined to provide detail about the agency’s reaction to the Paris attacks.

Islamic State militants threatened Washington and Europe with attacks similar to those that targeted Paris and killed more than 120 people, with one fighter saying "what’s coming is worse,” according to a video released Monday.

The video, which begins with news clips showing the aftermath of the Paris attacks, begins with an audio statement purported to be from Abou Mohamed Al-Adnani, known as the group’s spokesman, saying: "We promise that the state of alert will continue: the horror, fear and the lack of security. What’s coming is worse.”

The video was released as French police raided hundreds of locations across the country and coalition forces expanded aerial bombardment of Islamic State targets in Syria as officials warned that terrorists are plotting more attacks in Europe.

In the video, three gun-toting militants warned of more bloodshed. One identified as Al-Karrar Al-Iraqi said just as the group hit in Paris, it will strike the U.S. in Washington.

“I say to European countries, we are coming, we are coming with explosives” and “belts and silencers and you won’t be able to stop us because we’re stronger today,” another fighter, identified as Al-Ghareeb Al-Jazairi, said.

The director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency says the United States has not underestimated the threat posed by the Islamic State group.

John Brennan said Monday the success by the United States and its coalition countries in containing the group’s momentum inside Iraq and Syria is “why I think they are looking abroad” to make attacks.

Asked whether the U.S. had underestimated the threat, Brennan said, “I don’t think we are underestimating the capability of ISIL,” using an alternate name for the group.

He told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, that while it was “inevitable” that the Islamic State will try to carry out such attacks, “to me it is not inevitable that they are going to succeed.”

Bloomberg News and Associated Press contributed to this report.