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FBI Official In Washington, D.C, Reviews Security Posture Amid ISIS Threats


As the investigation in Paris continues, U.S. law enforcement is working overtime to find and disrupt terrorist plots in this country. A recent video by the Islamic State identified Washington, D.C., as one possible target. NPR's Carrie Johnson spoke with the top FBI official in the city about the threat.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Paul Abbate is a longtime FBI counterterrorism expert. Abbate worked in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya earlier in his career. Two months ago, FBI leaders promoted him to run the bureau's Washington field office. I caught up with him this afternoon just after Abbate finished a briefing with the Joint Terrorism Task Force in the city.

PAUL ABBATE: In light of what just happened overseas, we thought that it would be prudent to bring everybody in today, you know, to talk, communicate and share all the latest information intelligence related to that and everything - the, you know, the work that we do here every day to keep people safe.

JOHNSON: Here in Washington, authorities have stepped up security at monuments and museums. There's a bigger, more visible police presence in the subway system too. Local law enforcement often makes up the front line in responding to possible terrorist attacks, but the FBI helps coordinate and share information to disrupt plots before they happen, Abbate says.

ABBATE: We don't have any specific credible threat information pertaining to the area. But you know, we're always on guard. And again, we're always operating at the highest level. The, you know, threat picture that's out there, again, has been persistent, but I want to reassure everyone that we are on top of that to prevent bad things from happening.

JOHNSON: Abbate says they're working to prioritize leads and run down tips. Carrie Johnson, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Carrie Johnson is a justice correspondent for the Washington Desk.