BURBANK, Calif. (CBSDC/AP) — President Barack Obama says the threat of an imminent terrorist attack against Americans is, in his words, “significant enough that we’re taking every precaution.”

In his first comments on the latest security threat from al-Qaida, Obama said Tuesday that Americans should go ahead with summer travel plans abroad despite global travel warnings. But he said they should “show some common sense” and recognize that some countries are more dangerous than others.

“If people are paying attention, checking with the State Department or embassy, going on the website before you travel find out what kind of precautions you should be taking, then I think it still makes sense for people to vacations,” said Obama.

He didn’t specify which countries posed the greatest threat. He also wouldn’t say whether the U.S. learned of the threat through National Security Agency Surveillance programs.

Nineteen U.S. embassies and consulates in 16 countries have been ordered closed to the public until Saturday.

Obama spoke during an interview Tuesday on NBC’s “The Tonight Show.”

The president said he’s trying not to overreact in this situation.

“One thing I’ve tried to do as president is not overreact, but make sure as much as possible the American people understand that there are genuine risks out there,” said Obama.

He also said that “terrorists depend on the idea that we’re going to be terrorized.”

“The first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about when I go to bed is making sure that I’m doing everything that I can to keep Americans safe,” explained Obama.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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