U.S. taking action to prevent al Qaida threat out of an abundance of caution

The U.S. is taking the potential threat of an al Qaida attack very seriously and is closing multiple embassies out of an abundance of caution, the White House said on Monday.

Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, made the remarks on Monday during his daily press briefing. While Carney was unable to discuss specific intelligence, he said the threat of a terrorist attack was significant and the U.S. is closing embassies as a precautionary measure.

"I'm not in a position to discuss specific intelligence, but we believe that this threat is significant and we are taking it seriously for that reason, and have taken the actions that the State Department announced out of an abundance of caution, and will continue to monitor this and take action as necessary," Carney said.

Carney said the threat is emanating from and may be directed toward the Arabian Peninsula, but the threat could potentially extend beyond that region. When asked if Americans should be afraid, Carney said the information the U.S. has suggests al Qaida and affiliated organizations may conduct attacks between now and the end of August.

"Now, the statement that we put out has made clear that our current information suggests that al Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond," Carney said. "And our information suggests that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August. What we know is that the threat emanates from and may be focused on occurring in the Arabian Peninsula, but it could potentially be beyond that or elsewhere. And so we cannot be more specific - which is why we've taken some of the actions we've taken and made the statements that we've made."