US President Barack Obama holds National Security Council meeting to discuss Pakistan school attack

President Barack Obama met his National Security Council team at the White House to review potential holiday threats and discuss America’s security posture in Pakistan in view of the horrific terrorist attack on a school in Peshawar that left 141 dead, mostly children.

“The President discussed the US security posture in Pakistan in light of the horrific attack in Peshawar that killed dozens of innocent students and children,” the White House said in a readout of the meeting.

The meeting was attended by Vice President Joe Biden; National Security Advisor Susan Rice and the heads of the various intelligence agencies including CIA and FBI.

The President convened a meeting with his National Security Council today to review potential threats to the US homeland and US personnel overseas ahead of the busy travel period and the large public gatherings expected during the upcoming holidays, the White House said yesterday.

Obama received an update on security preparations planned and underway throughout the country, and also reviewed ongoing efforts to monitor the potential for violent reactions overseas to the release of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s report on the CIA’s former detention and interrogation program, said a readout of the meeting.

The Pentagon said it is ready to assist Pakistan, but has received no request in this regard from Islamabad.

“We have certainly made it clear to Pakistan that we’re willing to help in the wake of this attack should they want or need any. There’s been no request for US assistance,” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters.

Kirby said there has no change in US relationship with Pakistan as a result of the deadly and terrible attack on the Peshawar school yesterday.

“This is a threat that the Pakistani people have been facing now for years. We have long talked about the fact that it represents a common threat we both face and share. One of the reasons why we’ve tried so hard to get the relationship with Pakistan onto solid footing — and there’s been ups and downs. There’s been things we haven’t agreed on,” he said.

“There’s certainly been tense moments in that relationship. This attack today is a grim reminder that the threat is real, very real, and that the Pakistani people continue to suffer at the hands of that threat,” he added.

This is not a new threat the Pakistani people have faced, he said.

“This isn’t about confidence or arrogance. But the Pakistani military has also proven quite adept at dealing with this threat over the last several years. They have taken a lot of casualties,” he noted.

“They have inflicted a lot of casualties on the Taliban in the border region, and they continue to do that. As a matter the Taliban claim responsibility of this as an act of retribution for the pressure that’s been put on them by the Pakistani military of late,” he said.