U.S. says it must take challenges of terrorism head-on

While the core of al-Qaida is on the path to defeat, affiliates around the world constitute a terrorist threat the U.S. must take head-on, the U.S. State Department said on Tuesday.

Jen Psaki, the spokesperson for the State Department, made the statement on Tuesday during her daily press briefing. Psaki responded to questions about the administration's counterterrorism strategy of closing embassies in Yemen and elsewhere to protect Americans from a potential al-Qaida attack. When asked to discuss criticism of U.S. strategy to counter the matter, Psaki said the U.S. is not naive about the challenges of terrorism.

"I would say that the United States government and the State Department, we continue to devote considerable resources to the ongoing effort to - on counterterrorism," Psaki said. "That is a primary focus and something that the President, the Secretary (of State John Kerry), Secretary (of Defense Chuck) Hagel, and many in the government are very focused on. And - but we're not naive about the challenges we face, and that's why we continue to take them head-on."

When asked if Yemen was the main area of concern for the potential al-Qaida attack, Psaki said the U.S. would evaluate on a daily basis the best way protect its personnel around the world.

"We've made an announcement about the reduction of staff in Yemen, and we've talked in our travel warnings about our concerns about the threat of al-Qaida from the Arabian Peninsula," Psaki said. "And we all know where that is based, and that's been talked about quite a bit in the past. Beyond that, we're evaluating on a daily basis, and our focus is on keeping our employees and personnel safe around the world."

As of Tuesday, the U.S. closed 19 embassy posts to the public through Saturday. The posts will continue to provide emergency U.S. citizen services.