Tags: John Kirby | Travel | Europe | Terrorism

John Kirby: People Should Travel, But 'Keep Their Heads on a Swivel'

(MSNBC/"Morning Joe")

By    |   Tuesday, 20 Dec 2016 11:56 AM

The State Department doesn't want people to stay home and away from Europe amid the threat of terrorism, but at the same time, "we want people to keep their heads on a swivel" and to stay aware of their surroundings, Spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday in the wake of a truck attack that killed 12 people at a Christmas market in Berlin.

"In terms of what is going on around the world, we are always vigilant, particularly this time of year," the retired admiral told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.

"Back in November, before Thanksgiving, we issued a travel alert for Europe, and not to discourage people from going there, but to make sure they were mindful and vigilant as they were out at public events including festivals and markets such as what happened yesterday in Berlin."

New York Police Department Deputy Commissioner John Miller, who heads the department's intelligence and counterterrorism unit, said Tuesday that there have been steps taken in his city to further protection of civilians from such attacks, after al-Qaida posted magazine articles that suggested using vehicles to kill people.

But New York is different, said Miller, because with the dense traffic, "it's actually hard to get up the speed to run anybody over."

"We look at this as a layered approach," Miller continued. After the al-Qaida notice was issued, an operation began in New York that included "a lot of visits to truck rental places and other things, and looking a commercial driver's license holders and background checks."

New York's annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade was threatened directly in ISIS magazines, said Miller, "and we locked down the route to make that kind of attack impractical," but there are many ways attacks can happen.

"You focus on a chemical attack, and you get a bombing," he said. "When I talk about a layered approach, it's also a 360 approach, an all-threats approach."

New York City has more than 500 uniformed police officers and counterterrorism details on the street, and on Monday was able to move resources to a half dozen Christmas markets running in the city, until more was understood about the attacks in Berlin.

Also appearing on Fox News' "America's Newsroom," Kirby addressed Monday's assassination of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov, who was shot and killed by an off-duty Turkish police officer during a photo presentation.

There is no way to know yet what Russian President Vladimir Putin's response will be concerning the death of the ambassador, or whether the United States will work with him, said Kirby.

"If the answer, however, is that they just step up the indiscriminate bombing and the support to the Assad regime in Syria, if that's the answer to what happened yesterday in Turkey, well, then that's not going to be something we would cooperate with," he told co-host Bill Hemmer.

"As we've said all along, more bombing and bloodshed in Syria is not going to bring the civil war to a close any faster."

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The State Department doesn't want people to stay home and away from Europe amid the threat of terrorism, but at the same time, "we want people to keep their heads on a swivel" and to stay aware of their surroundings, Spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday...
John Kirby, Travel, Europe, Terrorism
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2016-56-20
Tuesday, 20 Dec 2016 11:56 AM
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