U.S. says closing embassies was the right thing to do

By closing embassies in reaction to a real stream of information about a possible threat, the U.S. absolutely made the right decision in closing the embassies, the White House said on Thursday.

Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, made the remarks on Thursday during his daily press briefing. When asked about critical reactions in the press that painted the White House's decision to close multiple embassies as an overreaction, Carney said the decision was absolutely correct.

"It's absolutely the right decision to make, and we continue to assess the information that we have and continue to view the threat as we have all week, and that's why we've made these decisions, and absolutely believe that it's the right thing to do in the interest of the safety and security of Americans serving abroad," Carney said.

Carney said the U.S. must take precautions when it comes to protecting Americans serving throughout the world.

"The decisions made were made out of an abundance of caution in reaction to a very real stream of information about a potential threat," Carney said. "And when it comes to protecting Americans serving in our embassies and facilities around the world, it's very important to take the necessary precautions when there is this kind of credible threat information."

Carney said there are people around the world who want to harm the U.S. and American citizens and the White House's national security team makes assessments based on the available information to determine precautions that must be taken. He said that while al-Qaida's core in Afghanistan and Pakistan is not what it once was, al-Qaida's affiliate on the Arabian Peninsula is the most operational and dangerous of the terrorist organization's affiliates.

"And while, as we've talked about earlier this week, al Qaida core and its leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been decimated and is not nearly what it was 10 years ago, al Qaida in general and its affiliate organizations -- as we've been talking about for years now -- continue to represent threats," Carney said. "And AQAP in particular is viewed by the national security team as the most operational of the al Qaida affiliates and the one that poses the greatest potential threat to the United States."